Director Vladimir Bortko’s epic adventure Taras Bulba grossed $1.6m in Russia and Ukraine over the weekend.
With total box office revenues now at $14.5m, the Central Partnership production is well on its way to recouping its reported $20m production budget.
The film opened April 3 in the two territories, where it is also distributed by Central Partnership. It grossed $7.1m its opening weekend — a respectable start against the year’s most successful local opening, Caroprokat’s The Inhabited Island, which grossed $10.7m in its first four days. The Inhabited Island is so far the most successful Russian films of the year with a $23.8m gross.
Central Partnership has sold the film in China (HGC Media), Czech Republic and Slovakia (Hollywood Classic Entertainment), Romania (Pro-Rom Media), and Turkey (MedyaVisyon).
Taras Bulba is based on the novel of the same name by Nikolai Gogol. Central Partnership says this well-known source material has helped attract older viewers in addition to the core youth audience which come for the blood-and-guts action.
The film’s release comes at a time of high cultural and political tension between Russia and Ukraine. Of Taras Bulbas’ combined gross, roughly $1.6m comes from Ukraine, where law requires all non-Ukrainian films be either dubbed or subtitled in the Ukrainian language. Many Ukrainian scholars point out that Gogol was born in what is now Ukraine, but his novel, like Bortko’s script, is full of praise for Mother Russia.