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. Крепкий орешек: Хороший день, чтобы умереть—A Good Day to Die Hard—$10.8m
Russia’s #1 film is, ironically, a Hollywood blockbuster that drips with Russian stereotypes. The Russian distributors of the film have replaced the English colloquialism of “die hard” and replaced it with a similar one found in Russian: “Крепкий орешек” (“hard nut”), which refers to a “tough guy” (all the “Die Hards” have carried this title in Russian). The distributors have also avoided a direct translation to the “die hard” reference in the subtitle, shortening it to simply “Хороший день, чтобы умереть” (A Good Day to Die).
2. Доспехи Бога 3: Миссия Зодиак—Chinese Zodiac—$9.4m
Russian distributors often make films sequels even when they are not. Доспехи Бога (Armor of God) was one of Jackie Chan’s early cinematic hits, produced in 1987 and followed with a sequel in 1991. Although the film Chinese Zodiac has different characters and is not marketed in most countries as having anything to do with these previous films, the title has been changed in Russia to capitalize on the earlier hit. Thus, the title has become Armor of God: Mission of the Zodiac. This is not the first time this has happened. Runaway Bride was marketed in Russia as Pretty Woman 2 (Красотка 2)—although the only connection between the two films was the lead characters. A French film called “Modern Love” was shown as Love Actually 2 in Russia, although the two films had nothing in common except a similar script structure.
The title of this new Jason Statham action film has gotten a direct translation for its Russian release.
4. Тепло наших тел—Warm Bodies—$5.8m
Here, the distributors have chosen a more poetic route – changing the name slightly to “Warm Are Our Bodies” rather than providing a direct translation to “Тёплые тела” (note that the plural of “тело” is “тела”), perhaps to capitalize on the romance of the film.
5. Джанго Освобожденный—Django Unchained—$4.9m (in February; total $15.6m)
The Russian version of the title directly translates back to English as “Django Freed,” which is close in meaning but leaves the imagery of chains behind. Russian does have a verb—“приковывать”—that specifically means “to chain, rivet, or pin down.” However, the verb does not have a commonly used form that would refer to “unchain.” For that, Russian usually uses освободить.