Fox Intl. Productions, 20th Century Fox’s international production arm, has entered into an exclusive first-look pact for Russian-language films with Paul Heth and Michael Schlicht.

Russia is one of the world’s top 10 movie markets. Last year, Russian box-office was $1.25 billion, with locally-produced films accounting for $215 million of the total.

Heth and Schlicht are longtime producing partners. Heth is a Moscow-based media entrepreneur, who is widely credited with the revitalization of the Russian theatrical exhibition sector. He is an owner, and serves as CEO, of Karo, one of Russia’s leading movie theater chains. Schlicht is one of Russia’s leading film executives, having overseen the release of five of the top 10 grossing local-language films of the modern Russian film era, including “Irony of Fate 2” and the “Night Watch” franchise.

Heth and Schlicht’s producing credits include such films as “Stalingrad,” the highest-grossing film in Russian box-office history, the “Very Best Movie” comedy franchise, “Vysotsky: Thank God I am Alive” and “Battalion.”

The Fox deal encompasses both co-productions and acquisitions of Russian-language films, and supplements Fox’s existing co-production and acquisitions relationships and activities in the region. Heth and Schlicht will work with 20th Century Fox Intl.’s managing director for Russia, Vadim Smirnov.

FIP president Tomas Jegeus stated: “We are delighted to again be working with Paul and Michael as we expand our production activities in Russia and CIS, and look to international distribution opportunities with this new deal. Michael and Paul are proven film entrepreneurs who also are forward-thinking, global-minded businessmen.”