Russia, a country with over 140 million inhabitants,
has a decidedly low average pro-capita frequency rate (lower than
one ticket a year) but a growth rate on the theatrical exhibition
market with exceptional characteristics: between 2002 and 2004 box
office more than doubled, reaching around 225 million dollars.
“And in 2005, too, we foresee no stop to the increase in box
office”, states Oleg Berezin, Chief Executive Officer of Nevafilm,
although he admits that in terms of admissions only a rather modest
growth rate can be expected, of around 5%.
This means that it is mostly ticket prices that are on the increase
and they can easily come to as much as 350 roubles, or the equivalent
of 10 euro. It is also true that, unlike the situation in Western
Europe, the “gap” between the lowest price and the highest
is much wider: tickets for morning screenings, at reduced rates for
students, soldiers or the elderly may even cost only a tenth of the
Saturday evening screening in the “vip” sector. The difference
in price between the centre seats (the “vip” sector) and
the furthest ones is also a characteristic of Russia’s “new
generation” of offers, as is the availability of a wardrobe
and, in many cases, the presence of video games.
The latter are even to be found in the prestigious “October”,
the complex that has just been re-opened by Karo Film, the leading
Moscow exhibitor, in the heart of the Capital on the crowded New Arbat.
After a period of closure lasting several years, due to thorough renovation
work and complex burocratic issues, the October now offers 9 screens
– for a total of over 3,000 seats – including one of grandiose
proportions, seating 1,518. And even if there are those who would
have preferred a more lavish design, despite its warm but sober materials
and colours the October is an ideal venue for hosting great events.
It is here that the 2006 Moscow International Film Festival will be
moving, here that, on 16 September, at the closure of Kino Expo, the
fourth edition of awards to the Russian cinema industry was held.
At the end of the ceremony, the pre-screening of 9th Company,
the keenly awaited film directed and interpreted by Fiodor Bondarciuk
on the war in Afghanistan, made it possible to experience the high
technological quality of the October’s “aula magna”.
The close-ups of a cruel conflict fought amidst spectacularly harsh
landscapes gave their best results on the 25-metre screen, whilst
the sound system, installed according to THX specifications and equipped
with top JBL speakers, made it possible to experience the emotions
of perilous helicopter flights. In this film, which was released in
Russian theatres on 29 September with an exceptional number of prints
(450), spectators have the chance to re-interpret the war concentrating
on the courage and heroism of the Russian soldiers, and the exhibitors
to obtain a new success with a domestic movie of popular appeal. Following
in the wake of Turkish Gambit (319 prints and 18.6 million
dollars since its release on 16 February 2005 – an all-time
record for Russian box office) and State Counselor (316 prints
and 7.1 million dollars since its release on 22 March 2005), these
are the films that have allowed the Russian market to grow, even in
a year like 2005 that has proved difficult throughout the world.