Crossing the Danube

Kinowelt Intl. pacts with Hungarian distrib

BERLIN — In its first major step in eastward expansion, Kinowelt Intl. is launching Kinowelt Hungary GmbH, a joint subsidiary with Hungarian distrib Budapest Film, in January.

The company’s activities will span film distribution, home entertainment and TV licensing. Officials at Kinowelt and Budapest Film are expecting their new outfit to turn into Hungary’s biggest independent player and make revenues of up to DM 3 million ($1.55 million) in 2000, with increases of up to 25% by 2002.

In addition, Kinowelt Intl. announced that it had filed a letter of intent for the establishment of a film distrib in Poland and is looking to acquire a majority share in Lithuanian distrib GPI.

GPI recently distributed Kinowelt pickup “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” in Lithuania and Estonia, where pic was No. 1 at the box office. The company already has a cooperative deal with Polish distrib Best Film.

Kinowelt recently acquired distrib rights in the German-speaking territories and Central and Eastern Europe for nearly a dozen pics, including Miramax’s “Boys and Girls” and “Hellraiser” and Beacon Communications’ “Family Man” and “Thirteen Days.”

The Munich-based entertainment group has been expanding into Eastern Europe by seeking joint ventures with local producers and distribs.

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