Russian box office growth outpacing Central Europe


    Russian box office is set to more than double in the next five years according to a survey by the U.K.-based cinema industry analysts Dodona Research (www.dodona.co.uk). That compares with research released in August in which Dodona predicted admissions in Central Europe will rise by 25% in the next five years

    Gross box office in Russia was $412 million (€297 million) in 2006 and is expected to exceed $850 million (€612 million) by 2011. In Central Europe, only the Czech Republic is expected to match Russian growth, with admissions expected to rise more than 50% by 2011.

    Fueling the dramatic growth in Russia is multiplex development, spurred by a booming retail market. Some 66% of new shopping malls have multiplexes, with the largest operation run by Karo Film (www.karofilm.ru) with 124 screens. Karo and its competitors are now spreading from Moscow and St. Petersburg to the other nine Russian cities with populations exceeding 1 million.

    Another feature that has changed in Russia is the distribution landscape. In the past, the major Hollywood studios operated through local partners. But as revenue potential has increased, the studios have established their own offices in Russia. Only Warner Bros. has yet to set up its own office.

    The domestic industry remains strong. About 50 to 60 Russian films are released each year and they can capture up to 30% of total box office.

    "These are exciting times for the Russian cinema business," said the report author, Alisdair Ritchie. "By 2011, we expect the annual average rate of cinema-going to have reached 1.2 visits, up from 0.2 visits just a decade earlier."

    Information on "Cinemagoing Russia 2007," released Sept. 14, is available from Dodona Research at www.dodona.co.uk