“Fast and the Furious” brings together

The cinema chains Cinema Park, Formula Kino, Kinomax and Karo have agreed with the UPI film distributor on the terms of cooperation and returned to the screens Fast and Furious 9, which was removed from distribution in early June. The parties acknowledge that they were able to reach a consensus on the terms of the revenue sharing without disclosing details. Kommersant’s sources and experts believe that cinemas could have yielded to UPI.

The largest movie chains have resumed showing “Fast and the Furious 9”, it follows from their schedule. Last week, the combined cinema chain Cinema Park and Formula Kino, Kinomax and Karo, removed the film from the repertoire due to new revenue sharing requirements put forward by the film’s distributor, Universal Pictures International (UPI). Usually, after two weekends, session attendance drops, so the distributor’s share in the box office falls from 50% to 40–45%, but UPI wanted to take half of the box office from the third weekend as well.

Large cinema chains rebelled against the new distribution conditions from UPI in the spring and began to remove from the schedule after two weeks its releases – “Godzilla vs. Kong” and “Mortal Kombat” (see “Kommersant” on May 13). UPI’s new policy did not come as a surprise: cinemas assumed this after the enlargement of the distributor on the Russian film market. Until March, the company was distributing only the releases of the Universal studio, and then Warner Bros. films were added to its package, which became a partner of UPI instead of Karo Premier.

After the quarantine, the cinema repertoire was not rich, receipts in the first quarter fell by 25-30% compared to January-March 2020, so a distributor with a large package had a strong negotiating position, market participants admitted. But if cinemas could still afford to abandon “Godzilla” and “Mortal Kombat” after two weeks, then the long-awaited release of “Fast and the Furious 9”, whose release was postponed for a whole year, should have become a Rubicon. It was released on May 19 and by June 7 had collected 1.04 billion rubles in the networks. (hereinafter – UAIS data).

Cinemas agreed with UPI on the terms of distribution of its releases and returned Fast and Furious 9 on June 4, Aleksey Vasyasin, general director of Cinema Park and Formula Kino, explained to Kommersant. “The parties found a mutually beneficial solution,” he said, refusing to elaborate on the details. Karo declined to comment, Kinomax did not respond to the request. The CEO of UPI Vadim Ivanov did the same.

One of Kommersant’s interlocutors in the film market believes that they lost to the cinema network in the negotiations: “They probably looked realistically at how many releases were being missed and realized that it would be easier to agree on UPI’s terms.”

According to Aleksandr Nechaev, editor-in-chief of the Bulletin of the Kinoprokatchik, the opportunity to continue renting Fast and Furious is beneficial to both parties. The new release, most likely, will not meet expectations and will not reach the level of “Fast and Furious 8” in terms of fees (it was released in April 2017 and collected 1.4 billion rubles), the expert believes, but taking into account the agreements reached, by the fourth weekend it will overtake the spin- off “Fast and Furious: Hobbs and Shaw” (released in August 2019 and collected 1.065 billion rubles.).

Fast & Furious 9 was only the fourth billionaire film since the start of the pandemic. Since March 2020, when cinemas closed en masse until August, only Russian fairy tales “The Last Hero: The Root of Evil” (2.05 billion rubles) and “The Little Humpbacked Horse” (1.18 billion rubles) reached this level, and also animated “Soul” from Disney (1.29 billion rubles).

“There are not many releases that collect more than a billion now. Films like Fast and Furious collect a significant box office for market participants even after two weeks of distribution, ”notes Alexander Nechaev. According to him, the ninth part of the franchise in the third week raised 70 million rubles. That is more than a third of the Cruella box office from Disney on its premiere weekend.

Anna Afanasyeva, Valeria Lebedeva