Popcorn movie? Arthouse fare?

Four months ago, I noted a Studio Briefing item on the recent boom in Russian movie-ticket sales, which stated: “The most popular film of the year was a sci-fi thriller titled Night Watch, which set a record for a Russian Film, $30 million. The highest-grossing foreign film in Russia was The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which took in $14 million.”

As a sci-fi buff, I was intrigued to hear of this film — which is not to be confused with either the 1994 Danish thriller of that name or the 1997 remake starring Ewan McGregor and Nick Nolte — and it occurred to me that this might be yet another example of how North American theatres often get the artier films from overseas (like Alexander Sokurov’s Russian Ark or Andrei Zvyagintsev’s The Return) but don’t always get the more popular films.

Well, it looks like we’re going to see this film after all; it opens in “select cities” in July, and a trailer for it is now available here. Alas, I can’t say it grabs me, but I’m still intrigued enough to want to give it a look when it comes out, if only to see what sort of films the likes of Sokurov are competing with when they complain there is currently no place for “cinematographic art” in their theatres; it would seem they are not only competing with “American” films (or whatever nationality The Lord of the Rings, Troy, Harry Potter and other recent international blockbusters might be).

JAN 27 UPDATE: It will open in mid-February, now. Click here for a trailer that compresses the entire movie into three minutes.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his award-winning film column for that paper, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He has also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005) and The Bible in Motion: A Handbook of the Bible and Its Reception in Film (De Gruyter, 2016).