A remake of the former Soviet Union puppet animation “Cheburashka, “also popular in Japan, was released in Russia on the 1st of this month and has become an unprecedented hit. Cheburashka, a character from the former Soviet cartoon puppet, according to Kommersant newspaper, has surpassed 3 billion rubles ($57 million) at the box office, making it the highest-grossing Russian movie of all time. Putin in the background is likely that there will be changes in the domestic and international environment accompanying the administration’s continued invasion of Ukraine. Cheburashka is a fictional animal with big ears.
The remake version combined CG animation and live-action actors and was released to great acclaim. “The vacuum created in the film market must be filled with domestic products.” Presidential Spokesman Peskov welcomed the hit, telling reporters on the 10th: “Vacuum” refers to the U.S. film industry’s blanket shutdown of Russian theatrical releases last year, accusing it of invading Ukraine.
As for Cheburashka’s popularity, a box office source told Vedomosti that it was family-friendly, coincided with the New Year holiday, and “the absence of Hollywood films.” Initially, there was a possibility that the sequel to the US movie “Avatar” (2009), which was released this winter, would become a rival. Still, Cheburashka became a “receptor” due to the invasion. However, a “bootleg” of the Avatar sequel has been released in Russia. It is an open secret and has not been reflected in the box office.
The prevalence of loopholes is also a social phenomenon under the Putin administration, where sanctions continue. According to independent media outlet Medusa and others, the pirated data is dubbed in Russian and comes from “friendly countries” such as Kazakhstan, a former member of the Soviet Union.
While it was reported that “back tickets” were sold out at movie theaters across Russia, the pro-government newspaper Izvestia also interviewed pirated audiences and reported their impressions. With the invasion of Ukraine continuing to be outnumbered and there being little news for Russia to be proud of, state television reported Cheburashka’s feat as top on the 10th. There is also a hidden aim to divert the public’s attention from the “inconvenient truth” that the administration has a deep-rooted need for American movies.