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Hollywood studios halt Russian release plans for 'The Batman,' 'Turning Red,' 'Morbius' & more

Hollywood has joined the call to isolate Putin from the rest of the world.

By Josh Weiss
Morbius Turning Red Batman Header PRESS

Less than a week after the Russian military suddenly invaded Ukraine followings months of build-up and tension on the border between the two Eastern European countries, the vast majority of the world (including the once-neutral Switzerland) has enacted numerous economic, political, and cultural sanctions against the government led by Vladimir Putin in response to the ongoing war.

This united initiative to isolate Russia from the rest of the world now extends to Hollywood with all the major studios — Warner Bros., Disney, Sony Pictures, and Universal Pictures — halting their Russian theatrical plans for major 2022 releases like The BatmanTurning Red and Morbius, and more.

“In light of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, WarnerMedia is pausing the release of its feature film The Batman in Russia,” a WarnerMedia spokesperson said in a statement to Variety. “We will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves. We hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to this tragedy.”

“Given the ongoing military action in Ukraine and the resulting uncertainty and humanitarian crisis unfolding in that region, we will be pausing our planned theatrical releases in Russia, including the upcoming release of Morbius,” echoed a representative for Sony Pictures Entertainment in a statement provided to SYFY WIRE. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been impacted and hope this crisis will be resolved quickly.”

The Mouse House also decried the "unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis," going on to add: “We will make future business decisions based on the evolving situation. In the meantime, given the scale of the emerging refugee crisis, we are working with our NGO partners to provide urgent aid and other humanitarian assistance to refugees.”

Paramount joined the call for action Tuesday morning with the decision to pause the Russian rollout for Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and The Lost City. "We stand by all those impacted by the humanitarian crisis across Ukraine, Russia, and our international markets and will continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds,” a spokesperson said.

Universal, whose next big title is Michael Bay's Ambulance on April 8, decided to indefinitely suspend the rollout of its 2022 slate in Russia until the conflict is resolved. “In response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, Universal Pictures has paused planned theatrical releases in Russia,” a spokesperson said in a statement to Deadline.

The studio's calendar for the rest of the year includes The Bad Guys (April 24), Jurassic World: Dominion (June 10), The Black Phone (June 24), Minions: The Rise of Gru (July 1), Jordan Peele's Nope (July 22), and Halloween Ends (Oct. 14).

SYFY WIRE has reached out to Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures for independent confirmation.

The Batman is slated to hit North American theaters this Friday (March 4), while Turning Red will become the third Pixar title in recent years to have an exclusive bow on Disney+ Friday, March 11. Morbius is scheduled to arrive on the big screen Friday, April 1 after no less than six COVID-related delays (making it the most postponed blockbuster of the pandemic era). The Lost City and Sonic 2 are slated for April 8 and March 25, respectively. (PLEASE NOTE: All of the dates mentioned in this article are domestic).

In other parts of the entertainment industry, A-list celebrities such as Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively have pledged charitable support to Ukranian refugees affected by the conflict. 

Universal Pictures & SYFY WIRE are both owned by NBCUniversal