On March 1, Disney announced that it was stopping all planned theatrical releases in Russia. This included its newest Pixar film, Turning Red. The move came less than one week after Russian forces invaded the country of Ukraine. The invasion and subsequent attacks were unprovoked. Following Disney’s move, other major studios stopped their theatrical releases as well. Those studios were Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Warner Bros. At this time, NBCUniversal has not made a statement regarding Russia, and it appears as though all Universal films are still scheduled to be released in the country.
Not long after stopping its film releases, Disney also announced that its cruise line would be removing Russia as one of its ports of call. Well, Disney is now announcing that they are not stopping there. Effective immediately, The Walt Disney Company will be stopping ALL business activity in Russia. A Disney spokesperson spoke with The Hollywood Reporter, which wrote:
The company says that it will be pausing “content and product licensing, Disney Cruise Line activities, National Geographic magazine and tours, local content productions and linear channels.
“Some of those business activities we can and will pause immediately. Others—such as linear channels and some content and product licensing—will take time given contractual complexities,” a company spokesperson added.
Disney has a number of linear channels in Russia, and St. Petersburg has long been a port of call for its cruise ships. Likewise, Disney-branded consumer products and National Geographic magazine have long been available around the world, including in Russia.
The Disney spokesperson added that the company’s Russia-based employees will remain employed.
Disney was the first company to stop theatrical releases in Russia. Its move to pause all business entirely is following in the footsteps of other companies, including Netflix, Amazon, WarnerMedia, and others. None of these companies have said how long the stoppage will last, but it will certainly be for at least as long as Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine. Even if they pull out of the country, there is no guarantee that business will be back to normal soon after.