Monumental steps up production

Sony's Russian affiliate allies with CTC

Monumental, Sony’s Russian film affiliate, plans to produce more films in the next two years and to that end has partnered with local broadcasting giant CTC-Media.

Nasdaq-quoted CTC-Media, which is run by film and TV veteran Alexander Rodnyansky, will spend some $10 million in 2008 on up to four films.

It’s partnering with Monumental Pictures, a Columbia TriStar-aligned shingle run by Patton Media, which combines the interests of Viacom’s Shari Redstone; Michael Schlicht, who heads Fox operations in Russia; and Paul Heth, who also runs local exhib Rising Star Media, itself a Viacom property.

Heth said Monumental would match or exceed CTC investments, according to local press reports.

Earlier this month, Heth told analysts that he expected Monumental to back four films in 2008 and a likely five the following year, predicting a partnership with at least two TV networks.

Potential titles included a local remake of “My Best Friend’s Wedding.”

Monumental released two pics in 2007, the romantic comedy “Waiting for a Miracle” and horror film “Trackman.” Both were made on lean budgets, and performed well at the B.O.

CTC’s Rodnyansky has plenty of production experience and the TV station produced one of the most successful pics at the box office last year, the romantic comedy “Piter-FM,” which also had a thrifty budget.

Despite that optimism, he’s keen to distinguish the company’s future output from other projects in the rapidly growing Russian industry, where quantity is rarely backed up by consistent B.O. returns.

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