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Universal Halts Release of ‘Ambulance’ in Russia

Universal follows in the footsteps of Warner Bros., Disney, Sony and Paramount as Hollywood’s major studios pause releases in Russia

Universal Pictures has halted the release of Michael Bay thriller “Ambulance” in Russia, becoming the latest studio to pull new releases following the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

“In response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, Universal Pictures has paused planned theatrical releases in Russia,” a spokesperson for Universal said in a statement.

“Ambulance” stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as two bank robbers who hijack an ambulance as a getaway vehicle. The film opens domestically on April 8 and was supposed to open in Russia the day before on April 7.

Dreamworks Animation “The Bad Guys” was also set to bow in Russia on March 24.

The news follows four different studios announcing plans to withhold the release of their upcoming films in Russia, including Warner Bros. pausing the release of “The Batman,” Disney yanking the Pixar film “Turning Red,” Sony pulling “Morbius” and Paramount Pictures pulling “The Lost City” and sequel “Sonic the Hedgehog 2.”

Netflix also made a statement Monday saying it would decline to carry state-run Russian TV channels on its streaming service despite a local law that would require any company with more than 100,000 subscribers to do so.

The invasion, which began Feb. 24, and subsequent outrage against Russian President Vladimir Putin has prompted Hollywood guilds and business groups to speak out, in addition to provoking sanctions and a spike in military aid to Ukraine.

On Monday evening the Motion Picture Association likewise condemned the Russian attack. Hours earlier, FIFA and UEFA indefinitely banned Russian football teams from international play, including this year’s World Cup. On Tuesday, tennis associations WTA and ATP announced athletes would not be able to compete under Russian or Belarusian flags. And last Friday, SAG-AFTRA also expressed support for Ukraine and condemnation of the invasion.

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