Disney has announced it will halt all theatrical releases in Russia, effective immediately, in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine, according to CNBC. In a statement released by The Walt Disney Company on Monday afternoon, Disney called Russia’s attacks on Ukraine “unprovoked” and referred to the crisis in Ukraine as “tragic.”
“Given the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis, we are pausing the release of theatrical films in Russia, including the upcoming ‘Turning Red’ from PIXAR,” Disney said in the statement. “We will make future business decisions based on the evolving situation.”
Disney further shared its efforts to help Ukrainian refugees in its statement:
“In the meantime, given the scale of the emerging refugee crises, we are working with our NGO partners to provide urgent aid and other humanitarian assistance to refugees,” Disney said.
The situation in Ukraine has continued to worsen since Russian troops first invaded the country to its southeast last week after Russian President Vladimir Putin said during an early morning televised address that Russia could no longer feel “safe, develop, and exist” because of the constant threat from Ukraine, per BBC.
Disney specifically mentions PIXAR’s Turning Red in its statement, as the release date for the studios’ latest animated feature is March 11. In the United States, the release is solely on the Disney+ platform, but in regions where Disney+ is unavailable–like Russia–the release is set to be theatrical. After today’s announcement, theatrical showings of Turning Red and future films will not be available in Russia.
Disney+ is currently available in only 12 regions worldwide, and Russia is not one of them. In Russia, as in many other countries, geo-blocking renders Disney+ inaccessible, but according to StreamingGiant, there is a hack that can be used by fans in these countries who want to view offerings like Turning Red on Disney+.
Fans must have a VPN, or virtual private network, and utilize U. S. servers. The VPN disables geo-blocking, making it possible for fans in countries like Russia, Albania, Jordan, Israel, Poland, Greece, and others to view offerings on Disney+. Disney’s streaming platform will expand to include 42 more countries in 2022, according to TechCrunch.
From Disney’s statement, fans can conclude that future theatrical debuts of Disney-owned films won’t resume until further notice. Again, the company stated that it will “make future business decisions based on the evolving situation.”