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 still capable of occasionally putting out a film that can 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, additional commentary taken from the Russian Modern Film page of our Library.
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. «Шерлок Холмс: Игра теней» - Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows - $6.6m
Sherlock Holmes is an incredibly popular character in Russia, in large part because of the success of a Soviet television series made surrounding the character. Even many English Sherlock Holmes afficiandos argue that Vasily Livanov was the greatest Holmes of all time. That said, the new movies starring Robert Downing Junior have also been quite popular in Russia. The translation of the movie’s name here contains no surprises – it is a direct translation.
2. «Хранитель времени» - Hugo -$5.8m
Hugo has been released with a much more dramatic, descriptive name for the Russian market: «Хранитель времени», which translates to "The Protector of Time" or, in a more elegant reverse translation, "The Time Keeper." Had the name been directly transliterated, the name in Russian would have been "Хуго," which, in Russian, is heavy to pronounce. In a more phonetic transliteration, "Хьюго," the word is easier to pronounce, but still very foreign-looking. The new name of the film is more likely to appeal to average movie goers of all ages and education levels.
3. «О чем еще говорят мужчины» - What Men Still Talk About (Rus) - $4.4m
This comical production of a theatre group “Квартет И” is a sequel to their film “О чём говорят мужчины” (What Men Talk About) released in 2010. The four friends from the original film get together on December 31st to celebrate New Years and end up discussing ageless questions about the relationship between men and women, work and recreation, and now, as they are getting older, of life in general and the peculiarities of middle age.
4. «Иван Царевич и Серый Волк» -Ivan Tsarevich i Seryy Volk (Rus) -$4.4m
Another animated film from the creators of the popular cartoon “Три богатыря” series based on Russian folk legends whose characters are well-known to the Russian public from early childhood. Vasilisa, the Tsar’s daughter, is smart and beautiful, but is not ready to get married quite yet, she is looking to get a second higher education first. Then her father decides to marry her out to ‘the next man’… which just happens to be Ivan from the neighboring kingdom. But to marry a Tsar’s daughter is not an easy task and the man must prove himself worthy through a series of adventures.
5. «"Старый" Новый Год» - New Years Eve - $4.3m
Russians love films which intertwine multiple stories, characters, and celebrities. They also collectively adore watching foreigners participate in what are considered to be uniquely Russian traditions. Hence, the distributors for the Russian release of New Years Eve have added "old" before the "new year." This also plays into the official trailer as shown below which mixes the words "old" and "new," but also gives the film the added localized appeal of appearing to place American celebrities inside the uniquely Russian holiday of the "Old New Year." This marketing was carried one step further in the decision to release the film to the Russian market on January 12, just one day before the Old New Year is traditionally celebrated in Russia.