Russia to Provide Funds to Boost Homegrown Movies' Exhibition Abroad

Viking Still - Publicity - H 2017
Courtesy of Central Partnership

Funding could be spend for dubbing, subtitling, marketing and advertising.

The Russian government will provide funding for international exhibition of local movies in a bid to improve their overall financial performance.

Money will be provided through the cinema fund, the country's main agency in charge of administering state cash for filmmakers, and could be spent on dubbing, subtitling, marketing and advertising of homegrown movies outside Russia, Anton Malyshev, the cinema fund's executive director, was quoted as saying by business daily Vedomosti.

At this point, it is not yet clear exactly how much the cinema fund intends to spend on boosting Russian movies abroad, but the agency clearly stated that it will be one of its priorities, aimed at improving the financial performance of homegrown films.

According to Malyshev, successful exhibition abroad would allow producers to collect extra cash, making a larger proportion of local releases profitable.

Currently, only 7 percent of all movies produced in Russia are able to break even, according to the estimate of the cinema fund, which last year disbursed 4.6 billion rubles ($81 million) to the film industry.

Russia sees China as the most promising foreign market; in 2017 it accounted for the lion's share of Russian movies' foreign gross, $12 billion.

However, the most recent Russian movie released in China, Viking, which debuted in theaters in late November, grossed only $2.2 million, according to Chinese film news website EntGroup.

Although the scheme mainly aims at local producers, it may also be beneficial for Hollywood majors choosing to produce Russian-language movies and later exhibit them elsewhere.

The success of Disney's Russian-language movie Posledny bogatyr (The Last Knight), which last year became the highest-grossing local-language release of all time in the country, could push other majors to make Russian-language films.

Similarly, Russian-Chinese co-productions, several of which are currently in the works, are set to benefit from the cinema fund's initiative.