Like in 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 it 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 Russian movies in Russia that ranked in the top 10 for weekend box-office take.
January is a special month for Russian films. Russians get about eleven days of vacation after the New Year. Russian box offices get a boon at this time and major Russian releases are timed to coincide with this particularly profitable time period. Below are films listed with their English and Russian titles (note that they differ sometimes), as well as how much the film has earned to date.
Викинг — Viking — $25 million as of January 29, 2017
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.
Притяжение — Attraction — $6.9 million as of January 29, 2017
Attraction tells of an alien spaceship that crash lands in a heavily populated Moscow district. The government declares martial law and the population soon must fight the aliens for control of Moscow.
Ёлки 5 — Christmas Trees 5 (Nine Degrees of Celebration) — $6.2 million as of January 29, 2017
The “Yolki” series have become something of a holiday tradition in Russia. One comes out about every year for the holidays. Each follows largely the same group of characters who generally pursue different goals in various Russian cities but who are shown to all be connected in the end. This latest installment puts the two main characters at odds as one attempts to steal a penguin from the other.
Снежная королева 3: Огонь и лед — The Snow Queen 3: Fire and Ice — $4.3 million as of January 29, 2017
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.
Невеста — The Bride — $2.7 million as of January 29, 2017
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.
Три богатыря и Морской царь — Three Bogatyrs and the Sea Tsar — $2.3 million as of January 29, 2017
In the latest installment of the now large “Three Bogatyrs” franchise, our heroes are tending to family problems. To solve them, they decide to go to China for the tooth of the dragon, a symbol of wisdom and strength. At the same time, the Prince of Kiev decides to capture the Treasure of the Sea Tsar to “patch up” his budget. The Sea Tsar, however, decides to get married in Kiev and therefore heads there, flooding the city as he goes. Now, the only things that will save our heroes and their people are the things that always save them: friendship, courage, and love.
Дед Мороз. Битва Магов. — Father Frost. Battle of the Mages. — $1.1 million as of January 29, 2017
Young Masha is tormented by visions of flying, fiery monsters. Her mother worries and her classmates laugh. But one day, in the very center of Moscow, Masha actually sees one of her fire monsters. At the last moment, she is saved by a young person who claims to be a magician. Thus, Mary is brought into a secret group, where she discovers that Grandfather Frost really exists and, in fact, heads an army of magicians who can control snow and ice and who protect the Earth from an invasion of dark forces who gather to strike during the holiday season.
Рай — Paradise — $0.6 million as of January 29, 2017
Olga is a Russian aristocrat living in France when WWII breaks out. She joins the French Resistance and hides Jewish children from the Nazis. She is found and arrested. In prison, she meets Jules, a French collaborator who works there. Jules offers to do her favors and even soften her fate, but for a high price.