Disney eyes Russian characters for local productions

Disney's adventures in Russia have entered a new phase. Although the company has long been present in Russia and the CIS – and Mickey Mouse himself even paid a visit to the USSR as early as the 1930s – it took until 2006 for the Walt

“What we are planning to do is not only bring the products which are created in Hollywood by the Walt Disney studios in the United States, but also create local Russian movies, known to Russian families with Russian characters, based on Russian books,” says Marina Zhigalova-Ozkan, Disney CIS General Director.

Disney CIS plans to start making the first Russian Disney movie by the end of this year, although the story is still under discussion.

And analyst Vladislav Riabiouk from Troika Dialog agrees this is the route to future success.

“Several years ago, if you watched any Russian TV channel you'd encounter foreign-made movies followed by foreign-made soap operas. First the soap opera segment was taken over by local producers, now we're seeing a similar process in movie production,” he says.

Domestically-produced films are now making more money at Russian box offices than foreign ones. And Disney CIS is set to join the trend, when along with its Hollywood characters it starts bringing home-grown heroes to Russia's big screens.