Why Russia’s Culture Minister Doesn’t Like Iron Man
November 19, 2015
When you take a look at the film market on a more international scale, you’ll see that no two films cross borders the same way. Just ask Russian cultural minster Vladimir Medinsky, who recently went on record as saying that he’s not a huge fan of the Iron Man films, as – in his opinion – they lack basic humanity.
The Hollywood Reporter recently ran a report on how Russia’s funding quotas for children’s films is about to be increased, all thanks to Minister Medinsky’s views that the country’s work in the genre is second to none. More specifically, his support of the Russian film industry versus the rest of the world, is summed up thusly:
Good movies are always in demand. The viewer for our movies is a hundred times more important for us than the one who goes to see Iron Man, because he has something left in his heart, mind and soul.
Now there are a couple of points to Vladimir Medinsky’s argument that can be contended. The first point is to assume that a fan of the Iron Man films doesn’t also like more intellectual fulfilling films. While the marketing for a typical Marvel Studiospicture might not mirror that of, say, The Danish Girl or Steve Jobs, that doesn’t mean that the films is any less satisfying. One genre fulfills the need for escapism and spectacle, while the other nourishes thought on the human condition. Even comparing Robert Downey Jr.’s mega hit franchise to a film like Inside Out orPaddington yields the same apples to oranges comparison.
Also, Minister Medinsky. has left himself open for a bit of a cross-examination with his statement, as he’s singled out male movie-goers with his sentiment. With the worldwide film market already under fire for its lack of advancement opportunities for female voices, as well as voices of various ethnic and minority groups, this statement can be seen as a little bit elitist. It also doesn’t help when you read the fact that the budgetary levels for children’s films is going to be at or around the same level as patriotic films the country produces. Considering the values that Medinsky has espoused in his statement, it’d be curious to see what one of the films made under the Russian government’s approval would look like.
Ultimately, it’s not politics that Vladimir Medinsky’s remarks are trying to win over, it’s domestic marketshare. With Iron Man and many other Hollywood blockbusters taking even more of the international movie community by storm, it is definitely getting harder for domestic products of countries like Russia to grab its own share of the audience. With children’s films being some of the most successful in the country’s box office, it’s no surprise that the funding quota would be raised in order to promote similar success stories.
With a stronger domestic film scene, it’s possible that Russia could replicate the success of Hispanic and Indian films have had at the U.S. box office, as seen this past weekend with a surprise top 10 performance by Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. Until then, it looks like Iron Man will still have more clout on the world stage, like it or not.