Study finds cinema construction propelling viewers

LONDON — Russian box office is expected to more than double to $867 million by 2011, according to a report by movie biz analysts Dodona.

Annual cinemagoing is expected to reach 1.2 visits per person, up from 0.2 visits a year in 2001.

The movie biz in the former Soviet Union has already enjoyed several years of remarkable growth. Box office in the CIS territories rose from $112 million in 2002 to $455 million in 2006. Russia repped 95% of this B.O.

This expansion has been driven by an explosion in multiplex construction.

There were more than 1,300 multiplex screens in Russia last year, up from 105 in 2000. This is expected to increase beyond 2,200 by 2011.

The oil-rich economy has fueled a boom in retail spending, leading to a huge growth in shopping malls, many of which use multiplexes as their anchor tenants. Two thirds of the new theaters built last year were in malls.

As well as the multiplex boom, the growth in B.O. has been fueled by a string of local blockbusters. Around 50 to 60 Russian films are released each year, which has resulted in local films making up to 30% of the B.O. total.

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