Local Films Lose Box-Office Share in Russia

Stalingrad Poster - P 2013

It could lead to protectionist steps by the government

The box-office share of local films in Russia is likely to shrink, based on 11 months' data, which could lead to protectionist steps by the government for that film industry.

According to the trade journal Exhibitor's Bulletin, over the period from January to November 2014, Russia's total box office amounted to $787.7 million (42.9 billion rubles), a 5 percent increase from the comparable period of 2013 in terms of rubles.

However, the proportion of local releases was only 17 percent, compared with 18.2 percent in 2014.

This figure doesn't exactly sound like good news for distributors of foreign movies, as local fare's poor box-office performance could push Russian authorities to eventually introduce minimum quotas on Russian films in movie theaters.

The idea was first seriously discussed in early 2013, triggered by the fact that Russian releases had been gradually losing their share of the box office since 2008, when the all-time high of 25.7 percent was achieved.

However, good box-office performance of several Russian titles last year, especially Fyodor Bondarchuk's war action Stalingrad, which became the first-ever local top grossing movie, made the government temporarily abandon the idea of quotas.

But this summer, culture minister Vladimir Medinsky spoke in favor of protectionist steps for the local film industry, saying that a final decision will be made based on the year's results and hinting that minimal quotas for Russian films could be introduced if local movies' box-office share didn't go up from last year.