ⓘ Viking (film)
Viking is a 2016 Russian historical film about medieval prince Vladimir the Great, Prince of Novgorod directed by Andrei Kravchuk and co-produced by Konstantin Ernst and Anatoliy Maksimov. The film stars Danila Kozlovsky, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Maksim Sukhanov, Aleksandra Bortich, Igor Petrenko, Andrey Smolyakov, Kirill Pletnyov, Aleksandr Ustyugov and Joakim Natterqvist.
The movie is inspired by historical accounts such as Primary Chronicle and Icelandic Kings sagas. The slogan of the movie was the phrase: "You need to see to believe".
Viking, the film is scheduled to be released in Russia by Central Partnership on December 29, 2016, and the world premiere took place on January 6, 2017. In rolling out two versions of a movie: 12+ 128 minutes and 18+ lasting 133 minutes.
With a budget of $20.8 million, Viking was the third most expensive Russian film after two parts of Burnt by the Sun 2 by the time of its release. The movie was met with mixed reviews by Russian film critics, grossed $32.3 million in box office. The film has taken around $25 million at the box office in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, becoming the top-grossing Russian film to be released in 2016.
Kievan Rus, late 10th century. After the death of his father, Svyatoslav I, ruler of Kievan Rus, the young prince Vladimir Danila Kozlovsky is forced into exile across the frozen sea in Sweden to escape his treacherous half-brother Yaropolk Aleksandr Ustyugov, who has murdered his other brother Oleg Kirill Pletnyov and conquered the territory of Kievan Rus. The old warrior Sveneld Maksim Sukhanov convinces Vladimir to assemble a force of Viking mercenaries led by a Swedish chieftain Joakim Natterqvist, hoping to reconquer Kiev from Yaropolk.
- Ivan Shmakov as John, Theodores son boy in Kiev
- Aleksandr Lobanov as Putyata
- Aleksey Demidov as Samocha
- Aleksandr Ustyugov as
- Kirill Pletnyov as
- Maksim Sukhanov as Sveneld, voivode of the Grand Duke Sviatoslav Igorevich
- Rostislav Bershauer as Blud, voivode and boyar of Kiev
- Vladimir Epifantsev as Theodore, the prince of Yaropolks retinue
- Pawel Delag as Anastas
- Svetlana Khodchenkova as Irina, a greek, wife of Yaropolk l Svyatoslavich
- Ziedonis Lochmelis as Torvald
- Nikolay Kozak as Lyut, the prince of Yaropolks retinue
- Aleksandr Armer as Ulvar
- Harald Rosenstrom as Einar
- Daniil Soldatov, Vilen Babichev and Oleg Sizov as viking chieftain
- Danila Kozlovsky as Vladimir the Great
- Joakim Natterqvist as Khevding
- Igor Petrenko as Varyazhko, the prince of Yaropolks retinue
- Aleksandra Bortich as Rogneda, princess of Polotsk, wife of Vladimir the Great
- John DeSantis as Berserk
- Andrey Smolyakov as Rogvolod
- Oleg Dobrovan as Valgard
3.1. Production Development
The film was produced by Konstantin Ernst and Anatoly Maksimov, best known for the Russian urban fantasy/supernatural thrillers Night Watch and Day Watch.
A few scenes were filmed in 2013 to secure funding, a common way to secure finances for large movie productions in Russia. Most of the production was done in March–July 2015. The budget was on par with the Russian WWII epic Stalingrad, 1.250 million rubles approximately USD$20 million.
The main historical consultants of the film were the historian and archaeologist Vladimir Petrukhin and the linguist Fyodor Uspenskiy.
The costume designer traveled to several cities and countries, buying fabric and studying frescoes and museum in China, India, Helsinki, Riga, Novgorod, Stockholm, and Minsk.
The Pecheneg language, an extinct Turkic language once spoken in Eastern Europe in the 7th–12th centuries, was "re-invented" for the movie.
3.2. Production Casting
The cast is mostly Russian; however the film does features Swedish actor Joakim Natterqvist, Canadas John DeSantis and Belarusian actress Aleksandra Bortich.
Natterqvist told Swedens TV4 that on set he worked with a translator, a Norwegian actor who has lived and educated in Russia. Most of his dialog is in a very stripped down amalgam of Swedish and Norwegian, to simulate old norse.
Members of Kazakhstan’s famous Nomad Stunts were responsible for the battle scenes, including the pyrotechnics, explosions and rigging.
3.3. Production Filming Locations
Principal photography began in March 2015. The film was shot on several locations in the Russia-annexed territory of Crimea, including the city of Bakhchisarai, Bakhchysarai Raion, Crimea. In the Taigan Water Reservoir, the town of Belogorsk, Belogorskiy Raion, Crimea. In the medieval Genoese fortress, the town of Sudak, Crimea. In the village of Shkolnoe, Simferopol Raion, Crimea. In the zakaznik of Cape Fiolent near Sevastopol, Russia. Also, the shooting took place at the Glavkino studio.
Later, the scenery of the film was used in the construction of the Viking Cinema Park in the village of Perevalnoye, Simferopol Raion, Crimea. The construction of the facility began in October 2015 on the left bank of the Kizilkobinka mountain river at the beginning of the ascent to the Red Caves. Cinema Park opened in May 2016
As it was partially filmed in Russia-annexed territory of Crimea, this film was banned in some countries.
Some scenes were filmed in Ravenna, Italy in mid-August 2015. The shooting took place in Basilica of San Vitale and the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia. This Basilica an important example of early Byzantine architecture in Europe, and was used for scenes set in Chersonesus.
The film will be released in two versions, one family friendly version with an age restriction of 12+, and a complete version, with a rating of 18+. According to Radio P4 Stockholm, the movie will also eventually be released as a TV-series, featuring hours of footage that did not make it into the cinematic release.
The author of the music for the film is the Russian composer and producer Igor Matvienko. The soundtrack was created for two years. Previously, the composer studied music of 9-10 centuries, got acquainted with the era of Prince Vladimir. The specialists of the Specialists from the Gnessin State Musical College were involved in the recording, copies of ancient instruments of that time were ordered. Tracks were recorded on these instruments, then the phonograms were mixed with a synthesizer. A special studio was equipped to record music. The producer Igor Polonsky, arrangers Artyom Vasiliev, Alexander Kamensky, Rafael Safin, the soloist of the Gorod 312 group Aya and many others took part in the work.
The films trailers and part of the movie was scored by Irish composer Dean Valentine. Valentines music was recorded with the Orchestra Of Ireland. Valentine is best known for his original music for trailers including Captain America:Civil War, Interstellar and American Sniper, but he has also scored Irish documentaries and motion pictures such as Tiger Raid, and Close to Evil.
UK based Red Arrow International will sell the movie internationally. A screening for potential buyers was arranged at the 2016 American Film Market. They received 200 inquiries from 45 territories to buy the movie. The Russian News Agency reported on January 19, 2017 that Viking’ had been sold to more than 60 countries, including Germany, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, China, South Korea, United Kingdom, Italy, and most of Latin America, even it was partially filmed in a Russian-annexed territory of Crimea mostly recognized as a part of Ukraine.
Viking was released in China on 10.000 screens under a deal closed between Central Partnership and Chinese distributors Flame Node Entertainment and Beijing United Film Artists Co.
The film was released in Germany on DVD and Amazon Prime Video SVOD service on April 29. It will have its Swiss premier at the Neuchatel International Fantastic Film Festival on July 4.
Viking was released in the United Kingdom on September 18, 2017, and in France on 10 October 2017, at the Absurde Seance festival.
In total, this film has been sold to over 80 territories, becoming one of Russias biggest international sellers in 2017 year.
The movie was released in the US via Amazon Prime Video in October 2018.
6.1. Release Marketing
The first official teaser trailer was shown during a closed pitch event with the management of the Russian Ministry of Culture and chairmen of Cinema Foundation of Russia.
In September 2015, Central Partnership distribution studios announced the release date for the film as 22 December 2016. On 19 November 2015, Film Direction and Channel One Russia released the official trailer to the public.
The film was presented on October 1, 2016 as part of Comic-Con Russia 2016, and a large sword fight was performed by the films stuntmen, replicating a fight scene from the movie. Exclusive materials specially prepared for the convention were shown, including a "live" trailer - stunt show at the stand, which was built in the form of an old Russian outpost. Visitors to the event could participate in competitions on knowledge of Russian history, try on costumes of the characters of the film and take pictures with props.
The set and the scenery used in the production were used to create Russia’s first movie-based theme park, which opened in may of 2016 near the village of Perevalnoye, Crimea.
Despite the overwhelming marketing and advertisement campaign, the reception of the movie in Russian media was mixed to negative. Many critics in magazines like Afisha, Time Out Russia and GQ Russia praised the movies visuals, but derided the story and the biased portrayal of medieval Russians. The public criticised the film for strong Christian propaganda and significant derailment from historical facts, as well as bad camerawork and rather low production quality despite an enormous budget.
7.1. Reception Box office
The film has grossed 1.48 billion rubles US$25 million in Russia and was the tenth highest-grossing film in the country in 2016. The film grossed 398 million rubles $6.7 million across four territories in the Jan. 5-8 weekend, which earned it a place in the top 10 movies of the international box office.
In Russia, rental was started on December 29, 2016. The total box office grossing of the painting in Russia and the CIS amounted to 1.534.409.689 RUB, in other countries - less than 400.000 US dollars. According to film critic Victor Matizen, this means a box-office failure of the film, since cinemas leave half of the fees to themselves, and the remaining amount does not cover the budget of the film.