Russia’s Top Movies: September 2011

Published: September 30, 2011

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. Пункт назначения 5Final Destination 5—$19.2m

Here, the Russian is slightly different. “Пункт назначения” would be specifically “point of destination,” which is a close but not direct translation. However, the Russian “назначения” also carries implications of “appointment”—which works well with the films subject matter of people who have “missed their date with death”…


2.  СмурфикиThe Smurfs—$12.4m

Again, quite direct, although the Russian has elected to not only transliterate the name of the fictional blue creatures, but to also make it diminutive—just in case you were unsure if the Surfs were small and cute… 


3. БеременныйPregnant (Rus)—$7.3m


4.  Хочу как ты—The Change Up—$5.9m

If “change up” were translated directly into Russia, the result would be “перемена” (to swap out, change, shift, alter, or reverse). “Переход” could also probably work—it is used to describe changing stations in the subway, to make an escape, or cross a river. Either of these could have likely worked for The Change Up, but the translators chose to alter the phrasing to Хочу как ты, which can mean “I want (to be) like you” or “I want to do it like you do it.”


5. Агент Джонни Инглиш: ПерезагрузкаJohnny English: Reborn—$5.2m

Here, the marketing for this Western film is playing on Russia’s relations with the West. “Reborn” can be easily translated to “возрожденный.” However, the alteration here to “перезагрузка” (reset) brings to mind the current “reset” in US–Russian relations. It also recalls the mistake the US State Department made when it gave the Russian Foreign Minister a symbolic “перегрузка” button to symbolize the new relations. “Перегрузка” would mean “overload” or “reload (a gun).” “Перегрузка” is still used by newspapers in Russia to sometimes ironically refer to US–Russia relations. Thus the translation keeps the same general idea as the original, but adds connotations of comedy, violence, and current events.

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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