Russia’s favorite film gets continued

'Irony of Fate' sequel does huge presales

Konstantin Ernst, head of Russia’s market-leading pubcaster the First Channel and producer of a string of recent hit movies, has a secret weapon to win audiences back to the silver screen: nostalgia for their collective Soviet past.

His latest film, “Irony of Fate — Continuation,” is a sequel to the 1975 Soviet movie that is Russia’s all-time favorite film.

“The first ‘Irony of Fate’ is not a film but part of the national memory. That is why we wanted to make a continuation,” Ernst says.

“Continuation” was designed to lure some of the 22 million viewers who watch the original film on TV back to the collective magic of the screen, he added.

The new movie made $1 million in ticket presales before its official nationwide launch on more than 1,000 copies Dec. 21 — meaning it will occupy virtually all of the country’s 1,300 modern cinema screens.

And if Ernst’s nostalgia device fails to pack in crowds, he has another old-fashioned tricks up his sleeve: every ticket buyer can enter a drawing to win a three-room apartment in St. Petersburg. And on Dec. 20, producers Ernst, Anatoly Maksimov, director Timur Bekmambetov and all the lead actors — including those from the 1975 film — personally will be selling tickets at the box office of central Moscow’s Atrium cinema.

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