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Controversial Matilda rakes in $3.9 mln at Russian box offices during its first weekend

October 30, 10:02 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The film by Alexei Uchitel depicts a romance between the future Russian tsar Nicholas II and ballerina Matilda Kschessinska before the heir's marriage and coronation

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© Alexander Demyanchuk/TASS

MOSCOW, October 30. /TASS/. Alexei Uchitel’s movie Matilda has scored around 230 mln rubes ($3.9 mln) at the box office in its opening weekend, coming in second, the Kinobusiness (or Movie business) website said.

The Last Warrior, a Disney-produced Russian movie, tops the box office having taken in nearly 448 mln rubles ($7.7 mln). The comedy fantasy film directed by Dmitry Dyachenko is based on Russian fairy tales. Matilda and The Last Warrior were both released on Thursday.

Feud over Matilda

The film by Alexei Uchitel depicts a romance between the future Russian tsar Nicholas II and ballerina Matilda Kschessinska before his marriage and coronation.

As Nicholas II and his family were executed after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in 2000, a number of activists, including MP Natalia Poklonskaya, launched a campaign against the film, calling for its release to be cancelled and claiming that it will insult the feelings of Orthodox believers. A group calling itself Christian State - Holy Russia sent numerous letters with threats to movie theater owners across Russia, urging them to drop the screening of Matilda.

Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky, in turn, said that any attempts to exert pressure on cinemas over the screenings of Matilda would amount to censorship and lawlessness. The Ministry of Culture allows the screenings at cinemas in line with legal procedures, Medinsky explained. "The law strictly lays out the grounds for any refusal. There are none of them in case with Matilda. We are guided by the law, not personal preferences.".

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