Palace Cinemas launches distribution arm in Hungary

By Laszlo Kriston

    Palace Cinemas, a leading force in the Central European exhibition business, is moving into distribution in Hungary by launching Palace Pictures.

    The move follows the 2005 launch of distribution arms in the Czech Republic and Slovakia where Palace Pictures has been releasing titles in collaboration with regional rights trader, Berlin-based Eastern European Acquisition Pool (EEAP, www.eeap.eu). With Hungary's Palace Pictures joining in, the company is now active in distribution in all the three countries where it operates cinemas.

    First out in Hungarian cinemas will be the Jackie Chan & Jet Li-starrer Forbidden Kingdom, a $75 million historical action movie which will premier at the annual Moziunnep event (or Film Celebration, www.moziunnep.hu), September 25-28.

    More titles are under negotiations for future release, but Palace Pictures seems to be aiming at the high-end blockbusters. 'We have noticed a new trend in Eastern Europe, namely that the markets are lacking in big movies that are released on a massive number of prints nationally. We think it's crucial to maintain a wide selection for the viewers and not to let the options narrow down to small films that are out on a few prints only," Palace Cinemas' Gyorgy Mester told FNE.

    Palace Cinemas is the top multiplex operator in Hungary where it has 100 screens in 13 cinemas.