Like most places in the world, Russia’s silver screens are dominated by Hollywood’s global blockbusters. Russia’s film industry has struggled with the financial crisis, but is also capable of producing films that can occasionally compete locally with the American machine. Once a month, SRAS provides a lineup of the top five movies in Russia by box office take—with the official Russian-language trailers from YouTube and, for those Russian films on the list, links to our Russian film site.
Below are films listed with their English and Russian titles (note that they differ sometimes), as well as how much the film has earned over the calendar month.
1. Шерлок Холмс: Игра теней—Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows—$6.6m
Sherlock Holmes is an incredibly popular character in Russia, in large part because of the success of a Soviet television series made surrounding the character. Even many English Sherlock Holmes aficionados argue that Vasily Livanov was the greatest Holmes of all time. That said, the new movies starring Robert Downey Jr. have also been quite popular in Russia. The translation of the movie’s name here contains no surprises—it is a direct translation.
2. Хранитель времени—Hugo—$5.8m
Hugo has been released with a much more dramatic, descriptive name for the Russian market: “Хранитель времени,” which translates to “The Protector of Time” or, in a more elegant reverse translation, “The Time Keeper.” Had the name been directly transliterated, the name in Russian would have been “Хуго,” which, in Russian, is hard to pronounce. A more phonetic transliteration, “Хьюго,” is easier to pronounce but still very foreign-looking. The new name of the film is more likely to appeal to average movie goers of all ages and education levels.
3. О чем еще говорят мужчины—What Men Still Talk About (Rus)—$4.4m
4. Иван Царевич и Серый Волк—Ivan Tsarevich and the Gray Wolf (Rus)—$4.4m
5. “Старый” Новый Год—New Year’s Eve—$4.3m
Russians love films that intertwine multiple stories, characters, and celebrities. They also collectively adore watching foreigners participate in what are considered to be uniquely Russian traditions. Hence, the distributors for the Russian release of New Year’s Eve have added “old” before the “new year.” This also plays into the official trailer, as shown below, which mixes the words “old” and “new,” but it also gives the film the added localized appeal of appearing to place American celebrities inside the uniquely Russian holiday of the “Old New Year.” This marketing was carried one step further in the decision to release the film to the Russian market on January 12, just one day before the Old New Year is traditionally celebrated in Russia.