The Walt Disney Company is halting the release of its upcoming films in Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
“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,” a spokesperson for The Walt Disney Company said in a statement Monday. “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 was the first U.S. film studio to take a stance against Russia, since the Feb. 24 invasion. However, it’s currently unclear how long the studio’s ban will remain in place. “Turning Red” is set to be released exclusively on Disney+, but was set to still be released in theaters in countries like Russia where the streaming service does not operate
The next tentpole Disney is set to release in theaters worldwide is the upcoming “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” from Marvel Studios on May 6. “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which was released by Sony last year, grossed $45 million in Russia.
Shortly after Disney’s move, Warner Bros. announced on Monday evening that it is pulling the release of the DC film “The Batman” from Russia ahead of its global theatrical release this weekend.
In another development, the Motion Picture Association issued a statement Monday declaring solidarity with Ukraine’s creative community.
“The Motion Picture Association stands with the international community in upholding the rule of law and condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On behalf of our member companies, who lead the film, TV and streaming industry, we express our strongest support for Ukraine’s vibrant creative community who, like all people, deserve to live and work peacefully,” the statement said. “We will continue to monitor the situation, working closely with our members and partners throughout the global creative sector.”
TheWrap reached out to representatives from Paramount, Universal and Sony earlier Monday with all declining comment on the situation in Ukraine, though insiders have told TheWrap that all of Hollywood’s major studios held meetings on Monday on how to address the escalating crisis along with increasing public pressure to isolate Russia not just financially, but culturally as well.
Earlier in the day, Netflix said it had no plans to add any state-run Russian channels to its service, which under a Russian regulation could try and mandate that Netflix carry the stations.
“Given the current situation, we have no plans to add these channels to our service,” a Netflix spokesman told TheWrap. The statement alludes to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The spokesperson did not comment on whether the company had informed Russia of any decision.
Meanwhile, various sports leagues have moved swiftly against Russia, expanding the global consequences against the country for the invasion beyond government sanctions. On Monday, FIFA and UEFA announced that they will ban Russia’s national soccer teams from all international competition, effectively disqualifying the country from participating in this year’s FIFA World Cup. UEFA has also moved this year’s Champions League final, one of the biggest sporting events in the world, from St. Petersburg to Paris in response to the invasion.