Russia Pledges Support for Local Movie Theater Construction

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Moscow, Russia

Culture minister Vladimir Medinsky says support should be provided "in all possible ways."

Russia’s culture minister Vladimir Medinsky has promised government support for construction of new movie theaters, addressing one of major issues that, according to distributors and producers, have long been hampering market gross.

"There are few film theaters in Russia, and construction of [movie theaters] needs to be supported in all possible ways," Medinsky was quoted as saying by the state-run news agency RIA Novosti.

The government has yet to decide in what form support for new theater construction is to come — whether government cash will be invested or developers will be entitled to tax and other privileges.

However, a general pledge for support already comes as a positive sign for the industry, which for years has been complaining that the insufficient number of movie theaters, especially in Russia's smaller cities and towns, limits possible box office potential for Hollywood and local movies alike.

As of January 2015, the last numbers available, Russia had 1,187 theaters with 3,829 screens, according to Neva Research, substantially lagging behind several leading markets.

Medinsky's statements came just days after the local production company Teterin Film unfolded a large-scale project for movie theater construction in smaller cities and asked for the government to invest in the project. The government has not yet reacted to this specific initiative.