Box office boom fuels cinema revival

Russia's consumer boom has triggered massive growth in the domestic movie industry, with box office takings growing at 37 per cent a year. However, there’s room for improvement. The insustry is hoping to increase the share of Russian movies screened at ho

According to Daniil Danduryan, Movie History editor, last year the Russian box office took a total of $US 560 million.

“This year in the first quarter only it's already $ US 210 million. It means that in 2008 box office takings will exceed $ US 800 million,” he said.

However, this rapid growth in earnings is not due to larger audience figures, but because of a significant increase in ticket prices and despite growing ticket prices, there are still relatively few places to go to watch a film.

In the U.S. the number of cinema screens per capita is one per 8,000. In Russia it is 16 times less.

Moscow's old Soviet-era movie theatres have been renovated. Now the capital has many multiplexes, with large numbers of screens capable of showing several movies simultaneously. However, it's a different story in the regions, where movie theatres can often only show one film at a time.

The business relies on a small segment of the population for its audience. Currently, most viewers are aged 15-27.

The Russian movie industry is looking to introduce new screens for a wider audience, aiming for $US 1 billion in box office takings as early as 2009.

Meanwhile, the awards ceremony for the best Russian movies have taken place on Sunday in Sochi.  It was the 19th Kinotavr open film festival.

A criminal drama “Shultes” directed by debutant Bakur Bakuradze was named the best feature film.