Big year at Soviet cinemas

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Boxoffice revenue in Russia, Ukraine and other former Soviet states grew 30.4% in 2006 to reach $455 million, according to industry magazine Russian Film Business Today.

Admissions totaled 99 million, up 8% from 2005. Ticket prices increased throughout the region by varying amounts.

The 293 films in distribution throughout the region included 59 Russian-made movies that accounted for 25.7% of boxoffice sales.

The number of Russian-made films was four fewer than last year, but the phenomenal success of the region's top-grossing film, fantasy sci-fi adventure "Day Watch," which took in nearly $35 million, boosted their share of the overall take.

Two other Russian movies made it into the top 10: crime drama "Bumer-2" was in fourth place and war film "Svolochi" stood seventh. The No. 1 distributor in the region was 20th Century Fox CIS/Gemini with sales of $106 million.

Ukraine's share of the boxoffice revenue was $43 million, up 16% from a year ago.

The annual boxoffice figures, covering the 12-month period from November to November, suggest that the region's movie boom — now in its fifth year of strong growth — has room to expand.

"My forecast for 2007 is for boxoffice sales of between $500 million and $520 million on ticket sales of 110 million-112 million," said Alexander Semenov, founder and publisher of Russian Film Business Today.
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