Russian TV Cartoon Series to Be Released Theatrically

Empty Movie Theater - Generic Image - 2011
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Producers are looking for extra income as the TV market is declining.

Russian animated TV series are to be released theatrically this spring in a move aimed at earning extra cash against the backdrop of networks' declining acquisition budgets.

Several of the country's leading cinema chains, such as Cinema Park, Formula Kino, Karo Film, Luxor and Cinema Star, are to start screening children's cartoon series that were previously limited to television, such as Masha and the Bear and Belka and Strelka.

Cartoon series will be originally released on 150 to 200 screens, but, if there is sufficient interest, the number could be increased, announced the animation production and distribution company Digital Television.

Sergei Koshlyakov, Digital Television's deputy general director, was quoted by the Russian business daily Vedomosti as saying that cartoon episodes will be released theatrically two weeks prior to their television premieres.

With production costs of cartoon series at roughly $4,580 (300,000 rubles) per minute, Digital Television expects to recoup production costs from a theatrical run alone.

Russian feature-length animated films have been very successful at the local box office and internationally in recent years. The most recent of them, Tri Bogatyrya: Khod Knoyom (Three Heroes: Gambit), has grossed $14.4 million and is this year's highest-grossing local film to date.

Two installments of the Snow Queen franchise have been released in many foreign territories.