Disney is temporarily pausing the release of its films in Russia due to the country’s recent invasion of Ukraine. In a statement released Monday afternoon, Disney said that beginning with Turning Red–set for release on March 11th–no movies from a studio under the Disney umbrella will be shown in Russia, including offerings from Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Animation, Lucasfilm, Pixar, and Marvel Studios.
“Given the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis, we are pausing the release of theatrical films in Russia, including the upcoming Turning Red from Pixar,” the company’s statement reads. “We will make future business decisions based on the evolving situation. In the meantime, given the scale of the emerging refugee crisis, we are working with our NGO partners to provide urgent aid and other humanitarian assistance to refugees.”
Disney’s statement is the first from a major movie studio regarding the war in Europe. As of Monday morning, The Hollywood Reporter said Warner Brothers’ The Batman–likely the biggest movie release of the year to-date–is still scheduled for release in the country later this weekend. Warners has yet to comment on the matter.
Shortly after Russia’s invasion began last week, the Ukrainian Film Academy launched an online petition against the Russian film industry.
“But at a time when world powers are imposing economic and political sanctions on the Russian Federation, the country continues to be active in the cultural field. In particular, several films made by Russia are regularly admitted to the programs of most world film festivals, and significant resources are spent on their promotion,” the petition reads.
It adds, “The result of this activity is not only the spread of propaganda messages and distorted facts. It also boosts the loyalty of Russian culture – the culture of the aggressor state, which unleashed unjustified and unprovoked war in central Europe. Even the very presence of Russian films in the program of world film festivals creates the illusion of Russia’s involvement in the values of the civilized world.”
CBS News reported Monday evening the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court plans “as rapidly as possible” to launch an investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity over Russia’s invasion.