National playing Kino

Exhibs create joint venture Cine-Bridgen

MOSCOW — Leading international exhib National Amusements is entering into a joint venture with a little-known player, Kino Star Ventures.

National Amusements, a majority shareholder in Viacom, which also owns and operates more than 1,350 screens in the United States, U.K. and Latin America, is a long-established, major player in the business.

By contrast, Kino Star Ventures, an offshore-registered company set up only recently, is a partnership between two Moscow-based Americans.

Paul Heth, who developed and operated the Kodak Kinomir screen in Moscow in conjunction with Eastman Kodak, is chairman and CEO of Kino Star; Peter Gerwe, who set up and oversees the Russian TV network CTC, is a minority partner.

“We will bring a completely new and unique motion picture experience to the moviegoer by introducing new technologies, creating a unique use of space and developing direct customer relationships,” National Amusements president Shari Redstone and Kino Star’s Heth said in a joint statement.

The joint venture is considering several U.S. properties, likely followed by activity in Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe.

The concept, provisionally titled Cine-Bridgen, sprung out of a meeting between Heth and Redstone four years ago.

Heth will be based in Boston but will remain a frequent visitor to the Russian capital.

Independently of National Amusements, Kino Star is developing a six-screen, 2000-seat Moscow site, skedded to open at the end of this year.

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