Russia’s Top 8 Films From 2018

Published: January 3, 2019

2018 was another record-breaking year for Russia’s film industry. With Olympic fever having taken over Russia early on in the year, only to be followed by FIFA fever a few months later, films about sports dominated Russia’s screens. Besides this, comedies did well – including an animated tale based starring Russian folk heroes and a romantic comedy about body image. Trailing the pack, but still making a decent showing, are two horror movies starring none other than Nikolai Gogol. Overall, much like in 2017, we can see that traditional, deep-seated values are still driving Russian audiences when they choose to see domestic films: a love of history, a passion for sports, and an eye for offerings that can immediately be seen to be distinctly Russian.

 

1. Движение вверх – Going Vertical
$53 million + 12.4 million viewers across the CIS.

There are victories that can change the course of history: victory of the spirit, victory of a country, victory of the world. During the fateful 1972 Munich Olympics the USSR basketball team beat, for the first time in 26 years, the “invincible” US team. Nobody even considered it was possible—aside from the Soviet players themselves.

2. Лёд – Ice
$26 million + 6.3 million viewers across the CIS.

Nadia has imagined skating on ice to the applause of thousands – performing the most beautiful routine imaginable – since childhood. Now a legendary figure skater, thanks to her faith and perseverance, Nadia is close to fulfilling her childhood dream when she’s sent to the hospital due to a mistake her partner made during training. In the hospital, she meets the hockey player Sasha, who was forced to work as her nurse despite their mutual and immediate hatred. Little did they know that this fight would turn into a story of great love which, despite all the hardship, will help Nadia realize her dream.

3. Ёлки новые – New Christmas Trees
$15.5 million + 3.6 million viewers across the CIS.

In this latest in the ongoing series of “Christmas Trees” movies (one is made nearly every year for the holidays), the friendship between Zhenya and Boris is almost burned in the fire of family scandal; a very pregnant Snegurochka will travel to Nizhny Novgorod; desperate Galya from Novosibirsk will do anything to spend a night with her beloved physician; and extreme camping in the Pine Forest will be a test of strength for a young hipster from Tyumen and his potential stepfather. Our heroes will fall in love, fight and make peace, perform incredible deeds and get themselves into a whole lot of trouble – only to find the spirit of New Year’s embodied in one brave boy who fled from Khabarovsk to find a new mother in Moscow. Only a miracle can help them… or perhaps the whole country!

4. Три богатыря и принцесса Египта – The Three Bogatyrs and the Princess of Egypt
$14.1 million + 3.8 million viewers across the CIS.

On New Year’s eve, as the Prince prepares to deliver his annual speech and Julia oversees the preparation of the holiday table, the heroes go to visit the friend, Alesha. Along the way, they meet a strange fellow named Durilo. It turns out that Durilo is the thirteenth month, disguised as a human, trying to become the most important month of the year. He pretends to be Ded Moroz, plays a couple tricks on the gullible Alesha, makes friends with the heroes and finds himself in Egypt – the land of Pharos and ancient pyramids. But, it’s not so easy to realize one’s deepest desires when you have to face the heroes, their wives, and Princess Nefertiti herself!

5. Тренер – Trainer
$14 million + 3.5 million viewers across the CIS.

National soccer player Yuri Stoleshnikov misses a penalty shot during a critical match. He then decides to leave the national team, end his career, and coach a small provincial team. There, however, he learns how to bring about miracles and finds the strength to believe in himself.

6. Я худею – I’m Losing Weight
$12 million + 2.7 million viewers across the CIS.

Ana has two main loves: her husband, Zhenya, and food. But Zhenya isn’t happy with how Ana’s body has changed, and the pair divorce. Ana, unready to throw in the towel, begins to change her lifestyle and, with the support of her best friend, decides to embark on an adventure to lose weight and find happiness.

7. Гоголь. Вий – Gogol. Vii
$8 million + 2 million viewers across the CIS.

The famous historical scribe from St. Petersburg, Nikolai Gogol, challenges a mysterious dark rider threatening girls in the village Dikanka. Having assembled a team that includes a local police officer, a superstitious blacksmith, and an exorcist-philosopher, Gogol tries to trap the villain, but encounters Vii – an evil force that can swallow the soul of a mortal with one mere look. Suddenly, Gogol finds out that he’s inextricably connected to the otherworldly forces.

8. Гоголь. Страшная месть – Gogol. Terrible Vengeance
$6.9 million + 2 million viewers across the CIS.

Two hundred years ago small Russian villages were ravaged by the Lyakhs, who were led by a powerful sorcerer. Since then, an unknown and mysterious Horseman catches young girls and cruelly punishes them, as if taking revenge for what the Lyakhs once did. Lisa, Nikolai Gogol’s young love, may become the Horseman’s next victim. To save her, the scribe must break evil spells and defeat the ancient curse.

About the author

Josh Wilson

Josh Wilson is the Assistant Director for The School of Russian and Asian Studies (SRAS) and Communications Director for Alinga Consulting Group. In those capacities, he has been managing publications and informative websites covering geopolitics, history, business, economy, and politics in Eurasia since 2003. He is based in Moscow, Russia. For SRAS, he also assists in program development and leads the Home and Abroad Programs

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