Russian Box Office Passes $1 Billion for the First Time

Rapid spread of 3D format in Russia/CIS credited with 43% hike in revenues in 2010.


MOSCOW -- In 2010, the combined box office of Russia and CIS states exceeded the $1 billion mark for the first time ever.

Revenues increased by 43% from $736.2 million in the previous year to $1.05 billion.

James Cameron's Avatar was the year's box-office champion, grossing $117.1 million. Two other 3D movies, Shrek Forever After and Alice in Wonderland, made the box office top ten.

"The increase was obviously due to the large-scale spread of the 3D format," Alexei Ryazantsev, general director of the distributor Karo-Premier, told The Hollywood Reporter. "Movies like Avatar, Clash of the Titans and Alice in Wonderland were primarily responsible for the rise. And the number of screens suitable for 3D nearly doubled during the last year." He added that the trend is likely to continue this year, but viewers will pay more attention to quality, and the very fact of a film being in 3D will no longer be sufficient for a good box office performance.

Meanwhile, local fare didn't do very well. Russian films' share in the total box office plummeted for a second year in a row, from 24% to 15%.

The box-office leader among local films was the comedy Nasha Russia: Yaytsa Sudby (Our Russia: Eggs of Fate), which grossed $22.2 million and was the only local movie to make the top 10 of the highest grossing films, where it landed in seventh place.

"The new procedure for state funding was only introduced last year," Ryazantsev explained. "It'll take time to figure out how it works. Plus, domestic films cannot compete with high-budget Hollywood blockbusters."