Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street was recently released to Blu-ray in the US, but the movie is still causing controversy in theaters overseas.
A court in Novosibirsk is howling over The Wolf of Wall Street, claiming that it “reflected a subculture of drug abusers” and glorified the use of narcotics. Now, five chains have been fined a total of 4 million rubles ($113,328) for showing the Oscar-nominated film, according to a report from The Moscow Times.
Judge Yelena Fyodorova first fined one unnamed chain 800,000 ruble ($16,400) for showing the film, according to The Siberian Times. It then extended to other chains, but no report shows how much of a fine each one received. Fyodorova expects her ruling will be appealed to a higher court.
In total, 10 movie theaters were fined for playing The Wolf of Wall Street. Viktor Ivanov, the director of the Federal Service for Narcotics Control, said there haven’t been any other cases for Russian cinemas showing the movie. Ivanov also noted that it was not his decision to go after the theaters.
The Novosibirsk Regional Court came to the decision on Friday to find the chains guilty for showing The Wolf of Wall Street. Under Russian law, there can be no “propagandization or idealization of narcotics use.”
Yelena Dmitriyeva, director of the Kinositi theater chain, said the Culture Ministry “bears responsibility for the content of the film,” as The Wolf of Wall Street was approved by them before it could be shown.
Kinoalliance, which works of behalf of Russian theater chains, has announced that they will support the defendants as they try to appeal the case against them. Mikhail Shvydko, special representative of the president for cultural cooperation, showed his support for the chains as well, and said the current law is “contradictory.”
“Unfortunately, the current law code is so confused and contradictory that pretty much anything could fall under any kind of criminal punishment,” Shvydko said.
Along with the recent Novosibirsk ruling, The Wolf of Wall Street has been banned in Malaysia, Nepal, and Kenya for its “depiction of sex, drugs, and profanity.” Some scenes were edited from the film before it premiered in India, and Singapore permitted only a few theaters to show the film.
The Wolf of Wall Street stars Leonardo DiCaprio as stockbroker Jordan Belfort, who lived a successful, wealthy life before excess and greed caught up to him, and he was jailed for his corrupt and illegal methods of earning money. Jonah Hill, Kyle Chandler, and Matthew McConaughey costar in the Scorsese-directed feature.
The Wolf of Wall Street was nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture, but went home empty-handed at this year’s ceremony.