Russian Cinemas Consider Minimum Screening Share for Homegrown Films

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The idea came up less than a year after the government dropped its plans to introduce restrictions on foreign films.

Russian cinema chains are considering a minimum screening share for local movies against the backdrop of Russian films' recent poor performance.

Several of the biggest chains are currently in negotiations with the culture ministry and the cinema fund, a state-controlled film funding agency, about voluntarily introducing a minimum share of screenings for Russian films, the business daily Vedomosti reported.

In accordance with the report, the ministry insists on a minimum share of 25 percent, while theaters proposed a 20-percent share as of 2016.

The idea of theaters' voluntarily introducing a minimum share of screenings allocated for local fare is totally new and follows in the footsteps of plans to introduce restrictions on Hollywood and foreign movies, which were seriously considered last year, but eventually abandoned.

Still, Russian films' poor box office performance since the beginning of this year has apparently prompted officials to look for new ways to step up local films' share.

Currently, the highest grossing local film, Tri Bogatyrya: Khod Knoyom (Three Heroes: Gambit), is in 10th place, while only two more were able to make the top 25, according to the data base KinoPoisk. The lion's share of local releases so far have flopped at the box office.

Last year, local films' box office share was 18.1 percent, or roughly the same as in the previous year, which prompted authorities to drop the idea of restrictions on foreign releases. However, this year, the figure is set to fall, judging by local movies' performance so far.