Warner Bros. Pauses ‘The Batman’ Release in Russia

“In light of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, WarnerMedia is pausing the release of its feature film ‘The Batman’ in Russia,” a spokesperson said

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. has halted the release of “The Batman” in Russia in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“In light of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, WarnerMedia is pausing the release of its feature film ‘The Batman’ in Russia,” a spokesperson for Warner Bros. said in a statement Monday evening. “We will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves. We hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to this tragedy.”

Warner’s statement came roughly an hour after Disney announced that it would be pulling all theatrical releases from Russia until further notice, including the Pixar movie “Turning Red,” which is set to be released globally on Disney+ on March 11. “Turning Red” had been scheduled for theatrical release in Russia as Disney+ does not operate in the country.

In addition, Sony pulled the Jared Leto thriller “Morbius,” while Paramount nixed plans to distribute the Sandra Bullock/Channing Tatum adventure comedy “The Lost City” and the family film sequel “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” in Russia this spring. 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 Batman” is arguably Warner Bros.’ biggest tentpole of 2022, expected to become the second film since the pandemic began to earn an opening weekend of over $100 million in the United States.

“Batman” films haven’t performed exceptionally well in Russia — “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” grossed just $12.6 million of its $543 million overseas total there in 2016 — but the market is still one of the larger ones at the global box office, ranking tenth among all countries in annual overall grosses in 2019, according to the Motion Picture Association.

With hundreds of deaths already reported in Ukraine since the invasion began on Feb. 24, the outrage against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his unprovoked attack on a sovereign neighbor has led to a global response that has extended far beyond sanctions from global governments.

On Monday eveningthe Motion Picture Association condemned the attack and voiced 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.”

Earlier in the day, FIFA and UEFA announced that they will indefinitely ban Russia football teams from international play, preventing them from qualifying for this year’s FIFA World Cup.

In Silicon Valley, tech companies like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have announced that they would pull all ad revenue from Russia state-affiliated media pages like Russia Today and Sputnik and would crack down on accounts that spread Russian disinformation. Meanwhile, major governments have cut Russia off from the SWIFT financial messaging service and frozen the assets of Russia’s central bank.

As a result of the sanctions, the Russian ruble crashed to record lows against the U.S. dollar, leading to Moscow’s stock exchange to close on Monday while Putin reportedly held emergency meetings with economic aides.