Paramount Is The Latest Studio To Start Pulling Releases From Russia

Paramount Pictures has joined the growing list of U.S. studios to halt the premiere of their latest films in Russia in response to the country's ongoing invasion of Ukraine. This will immediately affect the release of "The Lost City," an original action-comedy starring Channing Tatum and Sandra Bullock, and the family-friendly video game movie sequel "Sonic the Hedgehog 2."

"The Lost City" was previously set to open in Russia in early April 2022 after debuting in the U.S. some weeks earlier on March 25, 2022. By comparison, "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" was meant to reach theaters in Russia on March 31, 2022, before bowing in the U.S. one week later on April 8, 2022. Both films will still roll out domestically as intended.

In a statement reported on by The Wrap, the studio confirmed its altered release plans:

"As we witness the ongoing tragedy in Ukraine, we have decided to pause the theatrical release of our upcoming films in Russia, including 'The Lost City,' and 'Sonic the Hedgehog 2.' We stand by all those impacted by the humanitarian crisis across Ukraine, Russia, and our international markets and will continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds."

Hollywood could be doing more to help

Disney was the first of the major U.S. studios to show its support for Ukraine and condemn Russian president Vladimir Putin's invasion when it pulled all of its movies from Russia's release schedule, starting with Pixar's animated film "Turning Red" (which will stream as a Disney+ exclusive in the U.S.). Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures were quick to follow suit by halting the Russian debuts of their respective comic book superhero tentpoles "The Batman" and "Morbius," implying they may do the same with other movies over the months ahead, depending on how the invasion unfolds.

Given that Russia is among the bigger box office markets in the world, this is more than a performative gesture on the part of these studios and will come at a (very literal) cost to them in the form of ticket sales. At the same time, this will most likely have a far more direct impact on Russian movie fans and theater owners — many, if not the majority, of whom do not support their authoritarian leader's actions — than Putin and his government. That it to say, Hollywood can and should be doing more to aid Ukraine's people in their time of crisis.

So far, Disney is the only studio to confirm it is "working with our NGO partners to provide urgent aid and other humanitarian assistance to refugees," on top of pausing the release of theatrical films in Russia until further notice. Warner Bros., Sony, and Paramount would be well-advised to do the same, as the financial hit they're taking (while meaningful) isn't enough on its own for such powerful organizations with deep pockets.