Karma: Russian Patriotic Space Film Bullies Competition, Flops Opening Weekend

The First Time, a movie about the Soviet space program, didn’t even make half its opening weekend forecast.

A patriotic Russian film about the glory of the Soviet space program flopped on its opening-day weekend, despite efforts by its producers to use political and industry connections to bully Hollywood blockbuster “The Fast and The Furious 8” out of theaters this weekend.

The film, marketed as “The First Time” in English, depicts the exploits of cosmonaut Alexei Leonov — the first man to walk in space. The producers of the movie wanted it to be released on April 6, the weekend before Russia’s annual April 12 Cosmonaut Day holiday.

“The First Time” was financed by the Culture Ministry, and expected to rake in 280 million rubles ($5 million) opening weekend, the Vedomosti newspaper reported April 10. But it didn’t even make half that amount. The movie must make at least 500 million rubles ($8.7 million) to break even.

In a bid to ensure that Russians vote with their wallets for “The First Time” over the Western juggernaut “The Fast and The Furious,” the producers of the Russian film lobbied the Culture Ministry to delay the release of its Hollywood competitor back to April 20.

The heads of several large Russian movie theater operators, when they caught wind of the producers’ plot, were quick to launch a counter-lobby action. In a letter to the Culture Ministry, they argued “The First Time” won’t make profits and that delaying Fast and Furious would lose money.

“There are simply no other blockbuster premieres in April,” the letter, written last month, was reported by Vedomosti as saying. “The First Time will hardly bring in more than a few hundred million rubles.”

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Source By https://themoscowtimes.com

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