As a result of the Ukraine war, many companies and film studios are withdrawing from the Russian market. Recent movies like The Batman or soon Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness are not officially showing in movie theaters. So Russian cinemas are simply showing the films in the form of illegal torrent downloads. And call the whole thing an “art performance.”
Cinema blockbusters as torrents in Russian cinemas
More and more companies are pulling out of Russia due to the Ukraine war. As a result, current feature films are no longer finding their way into Russian movie theaters. Back in early March we reported that Russia was planning to decriminalize piracy. For example, in the form of torrent downloads.
This seems to have been put into action now, because as also reported by the website Torrentfreak, current movies like The Batman or Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness are being shown in cinemas in Russia. These are apparently being downloaded illegally as torrents from the Internet.
Russian cinemas also apparently make no secret of stating the illegal origin of their cinema programming. According to the Russian Association of Cinema Operators, sales plummeted by as much as 80 percent after film companies withdrew from the country, which is why they asked the Ministry of Culture for help, according to the report. It is unclear whether any assistance was provided, and if so, in what form.
Return of Russian cinema since April 2022
Further, Torrentfreak reports that in mid-April 2022, announcements made the rounds on social media that Russian cinemas would henceforth show major cinema blockbusters again. However, they relied more on safer social networks like VK or Telegram.
Just a few days later, the first film screenings were held in several Russian cities. These included not only theatrical films like Warner’s The Batman, but also streaming productions like Don’t Look Up (Netflix) or I’m Blushing (Pixar).
For the equivalent of around 7 euros, people were able to secure a ticket to a screening of the latest Batman film at Moscow’s WIP contemporary art center on April 21. The organizers described the screening as an “art performance with an artistic commentary on Hollywood’s exit from the Russian market”.
The illegal torrent download of the film, including Russian voice-over, was downloaded from an unknown torrent website. To this day, cinema films… or rather art performances are watched at the Grinvich Cinema in Yekaterinburg. Tickets can even be booked online.
According to Torrentfreak, however, the illegal copies continue to be classified as unlawful in Russia, although cinema operators distance themselves from the illegality of the films being shown, thus guaranteeing supposed safety for visitors.