Hollywood Loses Box-Office Share in Russia

Courtesy of Event Film

The share of local releases increased by one-third throughout the first half of 2014 from the same period last year.

MOSCOW – Hollywood is losing its share of the Russian box office as the performance of local fare improves. The proportion of local releases increased by one-third in the first half of 2014 from the same period last year, thanks to several major releases in the first quarter.

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From January through June 2014, Russian releases accounted for 24 percent of the total box office, up from 18 percent a year ago, said the local group Movie Research Company.

Meanwhile, the growth was mainly achieved at the beginning of the year, while in the second quarter the performance of local movies declined. According to Alexander Luzhin, executive director of Movie Research Group, the first quarter was good for local fare thanks to local releases' successful run during the New Year holidays and the box-office champion Viy, while external factors, such as Russians' growing patriotism against the backdrop of the Sochi Olympics, also came into play.

"In April and May, Russians not only went to the movies less frequently, but their overall consumer activity declined and the attendance of shopping malls dropped by 7-10 percent," Luzhin said.

Currently, Viy, which grossed $33.2 million, is this year's fourth-top-grossing movie in Russia after Maleficent ($37.4 million), Noah ($35 million) and Transformers: Age of Extinction ($35 million), according to the local movie database KinoPoisk.

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Last year, a local movie, Stalingrad, became the top-grossing release for the first time in Russia's recent history, grossing $51 million and finishing ahead of Iron Man Three ($41.6 million), Despicable Me 2 ($36.5 million) and Thor: The Dark World ($35.3 million).

In the first six months of this year, Russia's overall box office rose by 9.7 percent to $718.6 million (24,49 billion rubles) from the corresponding period in 2013.