Ivan Tsarevich and the Gray Wolf (Иван Царевич и серый волк) is a Russian animated film comedy from 2011. The film was inspired by the classical Russian fairy tale of the same name. In the fairy tale, Tsar Berendey has given his three sons the job of figuring out who keeps stealing their golden apples from the garden. Ivan, the youngest son, figures out that the Firebird is the culprit, and the princes all go off in search of the bird. Ivan is aided by his friend and helper, the gray wolf.
The film version has very little to do with the original fairy tale, besides the name. It takes place in a faraway kingdom (Тридевятое Царство) full of fantastic creatures. The tsar owns a secret key that apparently no one knows about, aside from the gray wolf, who works for the tsar and narrates the film. However, a malicious shadow who works for the tsar’s first minister finds out about the key and tries to get it for himself. His plan is to have the minister marry the tsar’s daughter, and they would split the loot—the minister getting the kingdom and the shadow getting the key. Vasilisa, the tsar’s daughter, opposes the plan, saying that her education is more important. Meanwhile, in a neighboring kingdom (Тридесятое Царство) lives Ivan, a village boy who dreams of becoming a firefighter despite the limited opportunities for that job in his town. Ivan is exiled from his own kingdom to the neighboring one after a disagreement with the emperor. He arrives just as the tsar has decided to marry his daughter off to the first man he sees.
The film did extremely well at the box office, paying for its $3 million budget several times over, and got average reviews.
Director: Vladimir Toropchin
Stars: Artur Smol’yaninov, Nikita Yefremov, Tat’yana Bunina, Ivan Okhlobystin, Viktor Sukhorukov, Aleksandr Boyarskiy
Production company: STV, Mel’nitsa
Box office take: $24.8 million