Russia's most expensive movie Burnt by the Sun 2 goes flop

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Russia's most expensive movie Burnt by the Sun 2 goes flop
Burnt by the Sun 2 (Утомлённые Солнцем 2) is a continuation of Oscar-awarded (Best Foreign Language Film in 1994) movie Burnt by the Sun, directed by Nikita Mikhalkov. It's a WW2 epic of the same director with a budget of 55 million dollars, that makes it the most expensive Russian film ever since Soviet times (USSR had several times more expensive movies, for example War and peace is the most expensive movie in the history of Earth, it's budget was 700 millions calculated in modern dollars). The sequel was divided into 2 parts: Burnt by the Sun 2: Exodus and Burnt by the Sun 3: The Citadel. It is scheduled to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.

For the first week the movie gathered only less than 4 millions in box-office. I see 2 reasons for it:
1. Russians don't like historical movies as a genre. All Russian recent historical movies were commercially unsuccessful, except for Turkish Gambit that was more a detective action movie than historical film.
2. Russians don't like movies divided into 2 parts. Paragraph 78, Inhabited Island, Hooked were commercial flops.

1941. Five years have passed since the lives and destinies of General Kotov, his wife Maroussia, their daughter Nadia - as well as those of Mitia and the Sverbitski family - were irrevocably changed.

Five years of incarceration for General Kotov, the former Revolutionary hero betrayed by Stalin, who escapes certain death in the Gulag and finds himself fighting at the front as a private.

Five years of terror for Maroussia, without the husband she believes dead and the daughter who has rejected her.

For Nadia, five years of hiding - always proud of the valiant father who she refuses to disown and whom she believes is alive, despite all reports to the contrary.

Five years of survival for Mitia who, having survived a suicide attempt, reluctantly continues to execute the orders of a regime he holds in contempt.

And five years for Comrade Stalin who, finding himself attacked by former ally Adolf Hitler, is forced to recall the elite he had exiled to the camps and to mobilize the Russian population - by any means necessary - to rise against the threat of fascism.

Burnt by Sun 2: Exodus (Утомлённые Солнцем 2: Предстояние) opened in Russian theaters on April 22, 2010.



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Atrus44May 4, 2010 8:43 AM

I am not the least bit surprised. I wasn't even sure how a sequel to Burnt by the Sun would work in the first place.

ClaudiuMay 4, 2010 3:10 PM

Well regarding the reasons, second one might be true but I wouldn't think the first one holds. Admiral (2008) and 9th Company(2005) are essentially historical films and have been box-office hits. The key is that they weren't advertised as historical films but more like actioners and had relatively young actors involved or at least actors which are not associated with the Soviet period. It's more a case of Russians being tired with Mihalkov and maybe the old guard of Soviet film-making but no way by history films.

AnnaMay 4, 2010 7:50 PM

Forgive me, but the statement that "Russians don't like historical movies as a genre. All Russian recent historical movies were commercially unsuccessful, except for Turkish Gambit that was more a detective action movie than historical film." is wrong on so many levels! .

TURKISH GAMBIT was a bestselling book... FICTION, not historical in the least. But let's put that aside.

ADMIRAL did great - historical, based on the life of Kolchak, so did TARAS BULBA. So did most of the Hollywood imports both historical and pseudo historical. Historical movies do very well in Russia. As long as they are done right for a reasonable budget.

BURNT BY THE SUN was hurt by overexposure. Over the last year the country was flooded by everything that's WW II (in the wake of the 65th aniversary). People are obviously getting tired of it and it shows.

dondrahead08May 5, 2010 7:29 AM

Strangely the author omits the biggest reason why this over-expensive production became an embarrassing box-office turkey: IT STINKS! The film is pathetically bad, overlong, self-indulgent, lacks a coherent story, and is so historically inaccurate that it has infuriated the audience whose patriotic feelings and respected to the victory in WWI have been recently pumped up by the forthcoming 65th V-Day celebration.

dondrahead08May 5, 2010 5:14 PM

Don't think the cast was the problem here. Mikhalkov tried to attract the young auds here by employing more youthful stars: Evgeny Stychkin, Andrey Marzlikin (Boomer, Newsmakers), Artur Smolyaniniv (9th company). His own daughter is pretty young too. Oleg Menshikov is now far from his top form but still a major star. The real problem is that the film sucks big time. It's plainly bad.