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Family film Cheburashka screened in all Middle East countries — distributor

Cheburashka premiered in cinemas across Russia on January 1, becoming the highest-grossing film ever in the country

MOSCOW, May 26. /TASS/. The family comedy Cheburashka was released in all Middle Eastern countries in English with Arabic subtitles for local audiences, a senior distribution manager said.

"One of our success stories from last year at Central Partnership was the release of Cheburashka in the Middle East, which after two months in Russia was rolled out in all the Middle Eastern countries. It was quite successful, [the screenings] were in English with Arabic subtitles. It was aimed at local audiences, not Russian expats or Russian speakers, although there were screenings in Russian for Russian-speaking audiences with children," Leyla Atakishieva, director of international sales at distribution company Central Partnership said at a Roskino business session at the Moscow Export Day forum.

Speaking about the prospects of exporting content to Asian, MENA and Latin American markets, the executive said that Central Partnership is open to cooperation with all regions. "Nevertheless, there are a number of markets that will certainly remain closed to the Russian film industry for a long time. At the same time, as we can see, there are great prospects in the Middle East. There is also a positive dynamic in exports to Latin America. <...> There is China, which has always been a big market. Of course, they are very much affected by the three years of lockdown, which has just officially ended there. However, we can already see how the atmosphere is changing, we can see it in the number of deals we are closing and in the fact that Chinese buyers have started to visit global film markets," the expert added.

Cheburashka premiered in cinemas across Russia on January 1, becoming the highest-grossing film ever in the country, surpassing previous blockbusters Serf (2019), a Russian film directed by Klim Shipenko, and James Cameron’s Avatar (2009). The statistics provided by the Unified Federal Automated Information System of Theatrical Film Distribution show that Cheburashka earned a whopping 5.8 billion rubles (about $82.768 million).

Cheburashka is a family comedy directed by Dmitry Dyachenko which stars Russia’s most acclaimed actors. The story follows the adventures of a small, furry creature with big round ears and big eyes, a throwback to the iconic cartoon character from the Soviet era, set in a small seaside town where Cheburashka arrives from a faraway orange-growing country.