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Who made “Cheburashka” a box office of 3 billion rubles: the director of “Big Difference”, the cameraman of “Yolok”, KVEN workers and the creators of “Keepers”

A photo: film frame

For the first eight days of distribution, the film “Cheburashka” by Dmitry Dyachenko collected more than three billion rubles (3.162 billion rubles). In terms of pace – this is unconditional Russian box office record. The picture has already jumped “Kholop”, but still did not catch up with “Avatar” 2009 (3.51 billion rubles). But this is for now – the adaptation of Uspensky’s fairy tale is still at the box office.

It is difficult to imagine whether such a phenomenal success would have been achieved if the second part of Avatar (The Way of Water) had been officially released in Russia, but let’s drop the subjunctive mood. The Cheburashka numbers speak for themselves. This iswell-deserved success for an excellent film. KP.RU I decided to take a closer look at who created the warm, kind picture – and find out if the audience is waiting for a sequel.

All-Star Game

It seems that even at the production stage, everyone understood that the first Russian film of 2023 – about a furry animal, which almost every modern viewer in Russia remembers from a cartoon and a fairy tale from childhood – will succeed. And harnessed to this sleigh while there was an opportunity. Take a look at the composition of the creators: Soyuzmultfilm, the START platform, Yellow, Black&White, Russia 1 TV channel, and the Cinema Fund and the country’s largest distributor Central Partnership undertook to show the new creation to the public. It is unlikely that a project with such power of synergy could fail. After all, this designer was assembled by extremely experienced specialists. Who are they?

Voronezh director Dmitry Dyachenko started with the Theater of the Russian Army, but quickly realized that cinema was much more interesting, and studied at the course with Boris Plotnikov and Nikolai Burlyaev, having learned the basics of directing. He started with TV (there was such a TV channel AST, later – 2×2) and commercial shooting, filmed the series “Kulagin and Partners”, the best humorous program of the 2000s “Big Difference”, made documentaries and designed the play “Quartet I” called “Faster than rabbits.” Collaboration with four comedians and brought the first success: the comedy “Radio Day” (2008) – the brainchild of Dyachenko. Then there were the films “What Men Talk About” (2010), “What Else Men Talk About” (2011) and a meeting with the producers of STS, which, in fact, led the director to “Cheburashka”. But their first joint project was the notorious series “Kitchen”. Dyachenko made the first and second seasons, and then the spin-offs of the project: “Kitchen in Paris” (as a director), “Eleon Hotel” and “Grand” (as a producer). After the cute comedies “SuperBobrovs” and “Wonderland”, which were smashed to smithereens by YouTube bloggers like BadComedian, Dyachenko had his first box office success. Filmed under the wing of Disney, the fabulous film The Last Bogatyr (2017) became almost the first shameless Russian fantasy for children. The picture has collected more than 30 million dollars. And he wrote the script for it. Vitaly Shlyappo.

Once standing on the stage of KVN together with Vadim Galygin comedian and produced “Cheburashka”, and led a group of screenwriters. There were four of them in total: in addition to Shlyappo, Vasily Kutsenko, Vyacheslav Zub and Anatoly Molchanov. We can say that this is already a well-established team (each is responsible for his own line), because together they made “Kitchen”, “The Last Hero”, “Grand” and other projects under the wing of the STS channel. It was to this channel that Shlyappo firmly rooted after a short work on REN TV, for which he wrote scripts together with Alexei Trotsyuk, then still just a Belarusian kaveenshchik. Under the yellow emblem of STS, Vitaly released the show “6 Frames” (from where Fedor Dobronravov ended up in Cheburashka), the series “Daddy’s Daughters”, the show “Thank God you came!” and other hits. And in 2008, his former colleagues in the RUDN team Eduard Iloyan and Denis Zhalinsky, also producers of Cheburashka, invited him to cooperate with the promising company Yellow, Black and White. Three years later, Shlyappo headed the studio. And in 2017 he founded the START service, for which he created a number of modern hits of the highest rank: deep “Storm”, pseudo-aesthetic “Keepers” and the allegorical “Vampires of the middle lane”, so much loved by the general public.

All this time shoulder to shoulder with Shlyappo stood Eduard Iloyan. And as the executive producer of STS, and as the general producer of the START service, and as the head of the Gazprom TV channel Super, where the premieres of talented authors went on the air. Together they released the most killer projects – from “Kitchen” to vampires. And not just series, by the way. The scandalous film “Text” is also their creativity.

In general, it is enough to say one word about Iloyan: “Servant”. It was this producer who released the highest-grossing (until January 9, 2023) Russian film. A simple comedy starring Milos Bikovich grossed just over 3 billion rubles at the box office. That was an absolute record. And then Cheburashka came out.

In addition to the sweet and sincere plot component, Cheburashka’s great success is the lamp aura of the film’s inner world, which was created thanks to high-quality color correction (we see a bright and sunny city, as if grown under the energy of citrus trees and palm trees – despite the fact that the shooting took place under branded heavy rains in Sochi) and, of course, camera work.

Luxurious views of the Sochi arboretum, as well as sloping landscapes of Pyatigorsk and Kislovodsk, brilliantly captured Ivan Lebedev – at the Moscow Film School, it is he who is responsible for the “Color Correction” course. Previously, the specialist filmed several parts of the New Year’s comedy “Christmas Trees”, “The Best Day” and the sports drama “Ice-2”.

Another important component of success was the film’s neat humor. The authors miraculously managed to avoid the vulgarity already familiar to the viewer, debility gags (even marking 6+ did not guarantee this!) And inappropriate jokes. Even with the adjustment for the final anecdote about the “rudder”, the film turned out to be finely tuned in terms of the degree of irony. This is probably a side effect of the creative past of the creators of Cheburashka. Many of them – Eduard Iloyan (RUDN team), Vitaly Shlyappo (BSU team), Alexey Trotsyuk (BSU team) – quite successfully played KVN, which means they know how to hone jokes, cut off the excess and edit themselves until they achieve the optimal result.

Will there be a continuation of Cheburashka?

While “Cheburashka” is breaking records for collections, Dmitry Dyachenko is completing work on horror films about the Russian outback. Apparently, inspired by the success of the series Epidemic and Survivors, the producers invited the director to make them a movie on the same topic, so that it would be beautiful. The director’s new film is called “Rabies”. In it, the hero of Alexei Serebryakov – a desperate and gloomy father – saves his family from ferocious wolves that spread rabies across the taiga. The film has everything that is not in “Cheburashka”: a lot of death, horror, fear, snow, hallucinations and blood.

Dmitry Dyachenko - far right

Dmitry Dyachenko – far right

Neither YBW, nor Soyuzmultfilm, nor TsPSH can say anything specific about the continuation of Cheburashka. But from sources very close to the creation of the film, KP managed to find out that preliminary negotiations on the filming of the second part of the fairy tale are still underway. Is it any wonder – with such fees …

– Such plans [по продолжению фильма] yes, we learned a lot on this release, but so far we can’t say anything specifically, – the general producer of the project also said Alexey Trotsyuk.

In addition, it is officially known that a “dialogue series” about Cheburashka will be released. It will not be related to the full-length picture, but the “Belarusian Shepherd Dog” in it, of course, will remain the main character.

“We are studying the possibility of creating a series about Cheburashka, since we already have 3D models of characters created,” said the head of Soyuzmultfilm. Yulianna Slashcheva. – Perhaps it will be a dialogue series, because Cheburashka has always had very touching dialogues.

In the film, if you haven’t watched it, almost all the characters don’t act under their fairy-tale names: the gardener Gennady (Sergey Garmash) is not called Gena the crocodile, although he dresses exactly like a cartoon prototype and rides a moped with numbers “GEN”, trendy Shapoklyak (Elena Yakovleva) does nasty things and wears hats, who knows who, and moves around in a Rolls-Royce with a ShPK number. This is all because Eduard Uspensky fought with Soyuzmultfilm for a long time and eventually transferred the rights to the heroes of Cheburashka with a tricky condition: the agreement allows the “right to rework” the works. Therefore, the film studio can only write a completely new script for both the film and the series.

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