Entertainment & Arts

Plans to limit foreign films in Russia abandoned

Russian film poster Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A previous Russian bill to cap foreign films at 20% was unsuccessful

Proposed plans to cap the number of foreign films shown in Russian cinemas by 50% have been shelved by the country's parliament.

The State Duma cancelled a debate on the idea, saying that introducing a quota would be "superfluous".

The decision come just days after President Vladimir Putin spoke out against the draft bill.

The bill was submitted earlier this year when relations between Russia and the West began to sour.

"Today, regulating film exhibition by introducing quotas on Russian or foreign films would be superfluous," Leonid Levin, head of the Duma's committee, said.

He added: "If a good Russian film is released, people will come and watch it anyway."

The Motion Picture Association of America, the US body which represents Hollywood studios and gives US movies their ratings, has welcomed the decision.

Speaking to Variety, Chris Marcich, the association's president, said: "We welcome the remarks by President Putin. We have long enjoyed close relations with Russian film-makers and have a shared interest in a healthy local market."

Image copyright AP
Image caption Hollywood films such as Transformers: Age of Extinction are among the highest grossing movies in Russia

The draft bill was submitted to the Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, in March by Robert Schlegel, a member of the United Russia party.

Schlegel said that a quota would attract more investors to the Russian film industry and allow the Russian government to make back money from their investment in the Russian film world.

Speaking last week, President Putin said he did not think it would be right to impose such a ban.

"It wouldn't be correct to limit our consumer when it comes to products people generally want to have. And films belong to those major products", he said.

He added: "The Americans are talented and successful people and there is a lot we can learn from them."

The move could have cost Hollywood studios dearly.

Out of the top 20 grossing films at the nation's box office this year, only two films were made in Russia, with Transformers: Age of Extinction the most popular, having taken $45.2m (£28.8m).

Foreign films are currently capped in China, where in 2012 the government introduced a strict quota of allowing just 34 foreign films to be screened there each year.

A previous Russian bill, in 2013, which aimed to cap foreign films shown in the country's cinemas at 20% was unsuccessful.

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