Russia’s Top 2017 Films Released Outside of Russia

Published: March 2, 2018

Russian films are earning rapidly growing box office takes and audiaunce numbers inside Russia. But how do they do abroad?

In total, in 2017, Russian films earned $44.3 million at box offices outside thier primary markets of Russia, Ukraine, and the CIS. This is $2.5 million less than in 2016. However, the number of viewers increased. Russian films were shown to 9.3 million theater viewers abroad in 2016. In 2017, this number grew to 10.7 million. This data was collected by the Cinema Foundation (Фонд кино), a Russian industry organization, and includes statistics for 48 countries.

In total, 62 Russian films were played in theatres outside Russia. The most successful of these was Guardians, a Russian superhero film by Russian-Armenian director Sarik Andreasyan. The film earned $7.1 million dollars abroad, more than it earned inside Russia. Inside Russia, its box office take was a relatively disappointing $4.5 million. According to BoxOfficeMojo, half of its foreign take was earned in China and Mexico: 2.9 million and 1.2 million dollars, respectively.

Interestingly, those movies that did best abroad are generally not those that did best at home. The only crossover below from Russia’s Top 5 Movies for 2017 is #5, Viking.

Russia’s Cinema Foundation has made following foreign box office takes a priority and will actively promote Russian films on the international market. Only 7% of Russian films earn back their production costs at the box office. The foundation hopes that boosted earnings abroad can help improve this statistic.

Защитники — Guardians
$4.8 million at home; $7.1 million abroad

During the Cold War, a secret Soviet organization called “Patriot” created a superhero squad using extraordinary participants from various Soviet republics. For years, the heroes had to hide their identity but now, with their homelands again facing a major threat, they have returned to do battle.

Невеста — The Bride
$3.1 million at home; $5.7 million abroad

Shortly after her wedding, Nastya’s groom agrees to finally agrees to take her to meet his family, who live in a far-off, nearly abandoned village. After her arrival, the family tells her that they have a special wedding ceremony tradition that they must go through. Nastya begins having strange premonitions and nightmares and makes horrible discoveries about the house and its history.

Снежная королева 2: Перезаморозка — The Snow Queen 2: Refreeze
$5.4 million at home; $5.3 million abroad

The vain troll Orm has long dreamed of being a hero. Now, he gets his chance! North Wind threatens his world with eternal winter and has kidnaps princess Maribel. The person who rescues her will win her hand in marriage and rule the kingdom of trolls. Orm has already conquered winter once with the help of friends, but now he decides to act alone. Leaving his friends behind, he sets out on a dangerous path. Fortunately, his friends do not remember that insult: the brave Gerda, the shy Kai, the striking Alfida, and the merry Luta soon catch up with Orm for another incredible adventure!

(below – full movie from VideoLand on YouTube!)

Снежная королева 3: Огонь и лед — The Snow Queen 3: Fire and Ice
$4.9 million at home; $4.8 million abroad

The Snow Queen movies are based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of the same name. In the movies, two young children of a magic mirror maker must fight an evil queen who has covered the world in ice and manipulated trolls into fighting for her. In this third instalment, Gerda, the daughter, is seeking her lost parents. She finds the troll’s Stone of Fire and Ice and attempts to use it in her search. But instead, she endangers the troll’s world.

Викинг — Viking
$25.3 million at home; $
2.6 million abroad

Viking follows the story of Vladimir the Great, known as the ruler who brought Christianity to the land of Rus. The film follows him from Swedish roots, his wars with his brother Yaropolk, and his conversion. The film will soon be translated and released in more than 60 countries, including Germany and China. It has broken box office records in Russia and also courted considerable controversy. There are some departures from history and some points that are arguable. The film was released in Russia in two versions, one for viewers over 12 and one for those over 18, which features extended scenes of violence and one of rape.

About the author

Josh Wilson

Josh has lived in Moscow since 2003, when he first arrived to study Russian with SRAS. He holds an M.A. in Theatre and a B.A. in History from Idaho State University, where his masters thesis was written on the political economy of Soviet-era censorship organs affecting the stage. At SRAS, Josh assists in program development and leads our Home and Abroad Programs. He is also the editor-in-chief for the SRAS newsletter, the SRAS Family of Sites, and Vestnik. He has previously served as Communications Director to Bellerage Alinga and has served as a consultant or translator to several businesses and organizations with interests in Russia.

Program attended: SRAS Staff Member

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