MOSCOW, September 5 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will tap into the lucrative Chinese box office with the epic war drama “Stalingrad,” which is set to be the first Russian feature film to get wide release in China, Russia’s Culture Minister said Thursday.
Fyodor Bondarchuk’s movie about one of the bloodiest battles of World War II will screen in November in 3,200 of China’s 16,000 movie theaters, Vladimir Medinsky said in Moscow, according to a statement on the ministry’s website.
“Stalingrad” will be a trailblazer for Russian cinema: From now on, at least one Russian film per year will see wide release in China.
The deal is reciprocal – the same number of Chinese films will be screened in Russia, Medinsky said, during a meeting with the head of the Chinese State Administration for Radio, Film, and Television, Cai Fuchao.
China is the world’s second-biggest film market after the United States with a total box office of $2.7 billion in 2012, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. Russia comes ninth – with $1.2 billion.
Russia had 1,053 movie theaters with 3,228 screens as of summer 2013, according to a study by Nevafilm Research marketing analysis agency cited by RBC Daily last month.
“Stalingrad,” which had a budget of $30 million, is the first non-American movie made using IMAX technology. The film by Bondarchuk – whose father Sergei also was a director who won an Oscar in 1968 for epic war drama “War and Peace” – will hit Russian theaters on October 3. No plans for a stateside release have yet been announced.
The Nazi Wehrmacht spent five months in 1942-1943 trying to take the strategic city of Stalingrad on Volga River, but was eventually defeated by the Red Army. Combined losses and casualties on both sides exceeded 2 million.