Russia may charge extra to watch big-budget US films

image copyrightAFP
image captionRussians are worried about the dominance of big-budget US movies

Russia's culture minister has proposed charging Russians more to watch Hollywood films as a way to support the nation's struggling film industry.

Vladimir Medinsky told MPs that the state budget for Russian cinema was less than half the Hollywood budget for a hit like The Fast and the Furious.

He said there were both financial and ideological grounds for restricting Hollywood films in Russia.

Russian cinema-goers ought to pay extra to see US movies, he argued.

"Currently a ticket for a Hollywood movie and one for a Russian movie costs the same - 230 roubles (£3; $4) - and that's wrong," he said.

Earlier a Communist Russian MP and film director, Vladimir Bortko, complained that the culture ministry was spending 35m roubles (£467,000; $608,000) on Russian cinema, whereas the typical budget for one Hollywood movie was $12m.

Mr Medinsky agreed that Russian cinema needed more state support, because "there is no suggestion that these films can compete with the sales of Hollywood blockbusters".

Some Russian arthouse films nevertheless became box office hits in Russia, he said.

He asked MPs to consider whether Russians would buy a Russian-made car if a US car was on sale for the same price.

According to Mr Bortko, 156 Russian films were shown in Russian cinemas last year, but they drew only 18% of the audience.

Russian film hits abroad

  • 2016 - Paradise, about a concentration camp inmate's relationship with an SS officer, wins director Andrei Konchalovsky a Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival
  • 2014 - Leviathan, by director Andrei Zvyagintsev, named best film at the London Film Festival - a tragic drama about corruption in the far north of Russia
  • 2003 - The Return wins the Golden Lion at the Venice festival - Zvyagintsev's drama about two boys whose fishing trip with their father turns into a grim test of manhood
  • 1994 - Burnt by the Sun, by director Nikita Mikhalkov, wins the Palme d'Or at Cannes and the US Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It encapsulates Stalin's communist terror in the story of a Red Army officer who is betrayed.

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