Russia b.o. up 30% in 2006


MOSCOW - Russian cinema takings powered ahead in 2006 growing by nearly a third to reach $455 million, figures released Tuesday show. The 2006 box office was up 30.37% on the 2005 figure of $349 million, the totals compiled by industry magazine Russian Film Business Today show.

Ukraine's share of the total was $43 million, compared with $37 million last year. Admissions in 2006 were 99 million ? an 8% increase on the 91 million in 2005 reflecting higher ticket prices, Alexander Semenov, founder and publisher of Russian Film Business Today said.

The 293 films in distribution throughout the region that covers Russia,Ukraine and other former Soviet states, included 59 Russian-made movies, which accounted for a total 25.7% of box office 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 nearly $35 million alone, boosted their share of overall takings.

Three Russian movies made it into the top ten: "Day Watch" at number1, crime drama "Bumer-2" in fourth place and war film "Svolochi" in seventh. Top distributor in the region was 20th Century Fox CIS/Gemini with sales of $106 million.

The annual box office figures, covering a 12 month period from November 30 2005, suggest that Russia's movie boom ? now in its fifth year of strong growth ? still has power to run. "My forecast for 2007 is for box office sales of between $500 and $520 million on ticket sales of 110-112 million," Semenov said.