Increased performance of Russian cinema market points to beginning of recovery
The most successful film of the New Year’s holidays in Russia was Dmitry Dyachenko’s family fantasy “The Last Hero:The Root of Evil” a Disney release, which collected more than 1.6 billion rubles ($ 24.1 million) for the ten days and brought cinemas half of the national box office during New Year’s holidays.
Despite firm restrictions on the seating occupancy of the cinema halls, Last Hero was able to set a number of local cinema records. At the end of the its second weekend it was ranked 5th globally for international distribution, only overtaken by several Chinese films and Disney’s animation hit Soul.
Last Hero set a market record for the amount of box office for January 1st and the record of the fastest film to get to 1.5 billion rubles at the box office (on the ninth day of screenings).
The success of “The Last Hero: The Root of Evil” and other locally produced films are critical for the sustainability of the overall Russian cinema sector due to the significant number of international blockbusters being postponed.
The total box office of the first ten days of 2021 in Russia reached 3.34 billion rubles ($ 45.3 million). Given the impact of COVID pandemic this result is extraordinary and is approximately 72% of the box office generated for the 2020 New Year’s holiday which was record breaking for the Russian market.
Paul Heth, Executive Chairman and CEO of the KARO Group and Olga Zinyakova, KARO Cinemas President said in a joint statement, “We keep on moving forward despite all the challenges presented by the COVID pandemic. Our distribution partners, and filmmakers have fearlessly continued to believe in the allure and power of their stories being told on the big screen. Our audiences despite having all manner of in-home entertainment options recognize the magic of watching and experiencing motion pictures in our cinemas. In fact if not for the restrictions imposed by the very real challenge of COVID the Russian cinema sector would have set yet another Holiday box office record. We are confident that as the public health situation improves and the distribution of vaccines for COVID broadens our industry will see an unprecedented and significant recovery for moviegoing.”
About the Russian Cinema Sector
Russia is one of the world’s most dynamic and growing markets for filmed entertainment. Russia cinemas attracted a record 217 million visitors in 2019, the third consecutive year annual admissions exceeded 200 million.
Box office in Russia in 2019 was 56 billion rubles, making it a vital and top 10 overall international theatrical market for major studios and independent producers. Local production accounted for 22% of the overall box office. The success of local production is a major factor in the continued growth and sustainability of the Russian film sector.
The KARO cinema chain which was founded in 1997, has set a new standard for the theatrical exhibition industry in Russia. Today KARO is one of the leading, and most technologically advanced cinema chains in the country with 32 modern cinemas and 262 screens in Moscow, the Moscow region, Saint Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Kazan, Kaliningrad, Tyumen and Surgut, KARO operates five of Russia’s top ten highest grossing cinemas to include the number one and number two cinemas, KARO Sky 17 at AviaPark and KARO Vegas 22.
KARO Cinemas are visited by over 12 million people annually. In addition KARO leads the Russian cinema sector in online engagement. In 2017 KARO was named by international Convention “CineEurope” as the best European cinema circuit, chosen from among 18 other cinema chains from 37 countries. Since 2012, the major and controlling owner of KARO is a consortium of investors consisting of UFG Private Equity, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Paul Heth, a filmed entertainment entrepreneur, known as a visionary leader and pioneer in the modern Russian cinema.