Russians are breaking the law to watch hit Hollywood movies like Barbie and Oppenheimer, The Guardian reported.
Theaters in Russia have been screening pirated versions of Hollywood films even though many studios left the market after the country's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
"They see watching Hollywood movies as a right," Anton Dolin told the Guardian. Dolin is a widely known Russian television and radio host, film critic, journalist, and podcaster who fled Russia and left his job as editor-in-chief at Iskusstvo Kino, Europe's oldest film magazine, in 2022.
The underground Hollywood screenings include Barbie, a Warner Bros. film that has topped $1 billion in global box office sales since its premiere July 21.
At one open-air theater in Tyumen, tickets for an August showing went for 300 rubles, or $3.11. Vladimir, the organizer, told Russian news outlet RTVI that a copy of the film was obtained in a "pirated" way.
"We just want to show movies in our harsh realities and give them access to some kind of entertainment," he told RTVI.
"There are, of course, some technical nuances here. I am a film expert myself and understand the reactions of other people who say that this is illegal and unfair to copyright holders. But for ordinary people who want to spend the evening, this is a completely normal alternative [in the context of] the absence of big films in film distribution."
Alexei, a filmgoer who has attended some showings, told the Guardian he will continue to go illegal screenings.
"I don't see why I wouldn't go to another one," he said. "For me, as a viewer nothing has changed much. I almost never watch Russian movies; I've never been a fan of our movie industry. A good Russian-made film comes out once in a blue moon."
Solange Reyner is a writer and editor for Newsmax. She has more than 15 years in the journalism industry reporting and covering news, sports and politics.
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