Russia Plans "Patriotic" Cinema Chain

Associated Press

It is expected to challenge Hollywood's hold on the country's distribution networks.

A Russian movie company has announced plans to set up a chain of "patriotic" cinemas in small cities to challenge Hollywood's hold on the country's distribution networks.

Teterin Film, run by producer Oleg Teterin, says in the coming year it plans to build more than 100 theaters in cities with a population of under 140,000 that will focus on Russian films, screening no Hollywood fare.

"We are creating a theater chain with a national patriotic idea and restrictions on Western movies," the company says. "Apart from Russian films, we'll offer our viewers high-quality European, Asian and Latin American cinema, as well as independent US films, but the priority will be certainly given to top-quality Russian cinema."

The company also said that theater bars will be selling food and drinks under Russian brands.

Teterin Film, which has recently been involved in several local big-budget productions, including Viy, Russia's top grossing local film of 2014, says it is convinced distributors will back the the project.

"We don't need to sign any agreements," Teterin told The Hollywood Reporter. "If our theaters are in line with international standards, all distributors will give us their films as it will be in their best interests."

Teterin Film also surprised the market by announcing that tickets in the new theaters will cost as low as 100 rubles ($1.58), compared with the average price of 242.7 rubles ($3.8) in 2014. According to Teterin, the company will be able to achieve that thanks to the cinema chain's business model.

"We will be able to keep the price that low thanks to saving on construction as we have a unique patented construction technology solution," he said.

This is already the third "patriotic" project revealed in Russia in recent months, riding the wave of nationalism against the backdrop of worsening relations with the West.

Earlier this year, Oscar-winning director Nikita Mikhalkov and his brother Andrei Konchalovsky came up with a proposal for a nationalist restaurant chain and called on the government to support it. The government backed away from providing any cash but promised "administrative support."

Two weeks ago, Kremlin-loyal entrepreneur Vladimir Kiselyov announced a project for a "patriotic" media group that would include several TV and FM radio stations and promote Russian artists as opposed to those from the West.