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How Russian ministry of culture manipulates Paddington’s box-office and distribution in Russia?

Russian ministry of culture (MinCult), including its chief Vladimir Medinsky, made a lot to protect Russian cinematograph in Russia and now such measures entail consequences. One Russian distribution company has obtained permission to distribute cartoon movie Paddington 2 in Russia.

But according to Russian rules, if there is a Russian movie going to be released at the date when the foreign, especially of Hollywood production, movie is to be released, the release for foreign movie is to be shifted to other date. Such “date shifting” has occurred with Paddington.

Preliminary approval of Russian MinCult for distribution was 18 of January. The sales of tickets have been started. But little later at the same date has been approved the release for Russian movie, therefore the release for Paddington has been shifted to February. But certain amount of tickets has been sold. What to do? The MinCult said “it is illegal to sell tickets on Paddington” on the dates which fall out of the dates prescribed in permission for distribution. But this situation with release also happened with “Maze Runner: The Death Cure”.

Association of cinema owners has made a statement, where it has underlined, that it is inadmissible for “Russian MinCult to blatantly interfere with business activity of commercial enterprises – cinemas”. Such style of management damage the cinemas’ business and interests of Russian viewers, especially when the last have to change their plans and get their money back for bought tickets. The business of movie distribution would develop much better and faster without MinCult’s intervention.

According to statement, the minister of culture does not develop Russian movie industry, does not make successful Russian movies. This statement has been addressed to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and to the chief of Russian Federal Antitrust Service in order to check whether MinCult’s deeds comply with Russian law. Actually the statement accuses the MinCult of destroying the Russian cinematograph.

How Medinsky replied to cinemas? “They are very emotional”, but the MinCult “operates with figures”. MinCult promised to do everything in the “best interests of Russian movies”. Why he hates Hollywood? The date shifting was made in order to rise up the box-office of all movies (including Paddington 2).

How shifting of release dates happened? Company, which applied for permission to distribute Paddington 2 in cinemas, received “preliminary” approval of MinCult, but this approval was in electronic format. The date for release has been claimed by the company at 18 of January. In relevant registry of permissions the relevant permission for Paddington has appeared and the date of release was 18 of January.

When the company, distributor of Paddington, received preliminary permission and the permission has appeared in registry, this company started to sell tickets to viewers. But when MinCult issued permission in writing the date was on 1 of February. MinCult just suddenly changed its mind as regards to release dates. About 3000 tickets have been sold.

The Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has instructed to “figure out”. After that “instruction” the Russian minister of culture stated that the system of permission could be changed. Such opportunity could be considered. “We don’t need bla-bla-bla, we need concrete proposal…”, – he said. The “story” of dates-shifting is “instructive”.

But little later the minister has found decision, and it is “preliminary”. The distributors can receive approval for preliminary dates and launch promotion on their own risk, but the minister did not say whether distribution company can sell the tickets only with preliminary dates of release and without final approval, in hard copy.

But what about the Paddington 2 and Maze Runner. The release of Paddington shifted to 20 of January.