Russia’s Top Movies: May 2012

Published: May 30, 2012

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. МстителиThe Avengers—$42.5m

“Avenger” in Russian is “мститель.” While in English the word now has an almost wholly positive connotation (i.e., avenging angel; ангел-мститель), in Russian it can more easily be negative (боги-мстители; vindictive gods, spiteful gods).



2.  Люди в черном 3—Men In Black 3—$17m

As they have for the past two installments of the Will Smith blockbuster series, which have all been popular in Russia, the Russian distributors of Men in Black 3 chose a direct translation for marketing their film there.


3.  Мрачные тениDark Shadows—$10.7m

The Russian translation of Dark Shadows adds a bit of color to the name of the film. “Мрачные” means “dark” but also “gloomy,” “solemn,” and “obscuring.” The added darkness seems a bit silly in light of the apparent silliness of the film itself… but perhaps that was the point.  


4.  Морской бойBattleship—$4.7m (in May; total $21.9m)

The Russians have chosen to take this action title to something a bit more action-oriented. “Морской бой” would actually be “Sea Battle” if directly translated back to English.


5. ДиктаторThe Dictator—$4.6m

Sasha Baron Cohen is fairly popular in Russia. This popularity may have actually been boosted when the authorities refused to issue a distribution license for his most famous film, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, after Kazakhstan’s government took issue with the portrayal of their country in that movie.

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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