Report: Russian boxoffice to double in 5 years


LONDON -- The Russian boxoffice will double over the next five years, with grosses hitting $850 million by 2011, according to a report published Friday by Dodona Research.

Ongoing multiplex development in Russia will fuel the predicted dramatic growth, the U.K.-based cinema analyst said. A booming retail market means that numerous shopping mall and entertainment centers are being developed, often with cinemas as their anchor.

The research shows that the share of new cinemas being built in shopping malls stood at 66% in 2006 and mall owners are increasingly choosing to enter the exhibition sector and operate cinemas themselves as low rents make it a profitable option.

Russia's largest cinema circuit, with 124 screens, is operated by Karo Film. Karo is choosing to fund further expansion through an initial public offering.

The report, titled "Cinemagoing Russia," also noted that while Hollywood studios have generally operated through local partners in the past they're now increasingly establishing their own offices in Russia.

While Hollywood films are increasingly breaking boxoffice records in Russia, there is also a strong local film industry. About 50-60 Russian films are released each year and can capture up to 30% of total boxoffice, the report states.

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