Vladimir Putin Wants to Double the Number of Film Theaters in Russia

Industry insiders say that, financially, it is an unrealistic task.


MOSCOW -- Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has called on doubling the number of film theaters in the country in a bid to ensure the population's access to cinema.

"In 2010, Russia had 2,245 film theaters," Putin was quoted by gazeta.ruas saying at a meeting on the film industry's development at the Russian State Film Archives earlier this week.

But all of them are concentrated in just 137 cities and towns, while there are more than a thousand cities and towns in Russia.

"Under preliminary calculations, in order to satisfy the existing demand, there is a need to open at least as many more theaters," he went on to say, adding that the development of the country's film theater network should not be focused on just making money. "The key task is to ensure equal access to the arts for the population," he concluded.

Meanwhile, industry insiders say that doubling the number of theaters is an unrealistic task. "Annually, the number of film screens [in the country] increases by five percent," Irina Tumanova, marketing director at the Kinomax film theater network, told The Hollywood Reporter. "So, by our estimation, a two-fold increase in the number of screens, let alone theaters, is practically unachievable in the near future."

She added that expensive credit resources, alongside the stagnation in the property market over the last few years are the main factors deterring the expansion of Russia's film theater network. "In addition, unlike the U.S. and Europe, we don't have a state program for co-financing the switch to digital projection," she concluded.