Hitler Kaput: Comedy About Nazism Appeals to Russians

Marius Veisburg’s “Hitler Kaput” dominates the Russian box office, a surprise in a country that’s sensitive about its WWII legacy. The movie has been triumphant weekend after its September 18, 2008 release via Central Partnership, making $5.2 million in a 685-print bow.

“Hitler Kaput” is a parody of the 1973 TV series “17 Moments of Spring,” directed by Tatiana Lioznova, about a Russian spy named Stirlitz, who infiltrates the Third Reich. In “Hitler Kaput,” set at the end of WWII, Stirlitz morphs into Shurenberg (Pavel Derevyanko). Life in Hitler’s bunker is a succession of absurd pastiches staged as musical numbers.

The only other Russian film to go out in the same slot, Filipp Yankovsky’s “Stonehead,” from indie production house CTB, made only $362,000 on 229 copies, despite extensive TV ads.

The American flick “Journey to the Center of the Earth” had made $1.4 million on 300 after its second weekend.

The movie hasn’t done well in other cities like St. Petersburg. “It’s a tasteless parody and has no relation whatsoever to the art of cinema,” said Anton Gubankov, head of the city’s cultural committee.