FIRST NUMBERS: 'The Croods' Clobbers the Competition on March 24, 2013

croods.jpgDreamWorks' The Croods had a hushed roll-out last week in Russia, placing second on the charts after the second weekend of Oz: the Great and Powerful. With numbers for the weekend coming in, the caveman comedy looks to have flipped the ranking to claim the #1 spot at the box office with $12--possibly as much as $13--million, which if true would make The Croods the biggest non-franchise animated opening in Russian history. Three-quarters of the cash is also reported to have come from 3D sales, good news for theater owners who invested in the technology, bad news for those who didn't. Here's The Croods' next big test: Can it cling on to the top spot long enough to fend off next weekend's attack from GI Joe: Retaliation

BRIC Cinema Box Office Revenue Set to Rival North American Market by 2017 on March 21, 2013

El Segundo, Calif. -- After doubling from 2008 to 2012, the combined cinema box office revenue for the BRIC countries of Brazil, India, China and Russia is set to double again by the end of 2017, making their collective proceeds equal in size to North America, the world's largest movie theater market.

The BRIC box office total expanded dramatically in just five years, rising to $6.2 billion in 2012, up from $3.08 billion in 2008, according to a new IHS Screen Digest Cinema Intelligence Report from information and analytics provider IHS (NYSE: IHS). By 2017, the box office value of the BRIC regions is projected to hit $12.1 billion-approximately equal to the IHS forecast for the North American box office that same year.

"The rapid growth of the BRIC cinema market is being driven by two principal factors: increasing ticket prices and new screen construction," said Charlotte Jones, principal analyst for cinema at IHS. "However, other variables are also helping spur the BRIC cinema markets, including the loosening of market regulations in China for 3-D and IMAX films, the popularity of premium films in Russia and the rise of shopping centers in Brazil. Driven by all these factors, the BRIC countries by the end of 2016 will account for one quarter of global cinema box office revenue, up from 18 percent in 2012."

The attached figure presents the IHS forecast of the BRIC countries' cinema box office revenue compared to the global total.

Impressive box office
To put the growth of the BRIC region in context, the territories recorded a combined average compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.9 percent at the box office from 2008 to 2012. Such a rate is impressive when compared to other international markets that rose by just 5.5 percent, and is even more remarkable when viewed against the 2.2 percent CAGR of a mature region like North America. The future forecast for the BRIC box office also shows a CAGR of 14.4 percent through 2017, displaying only a minor slowdown from the previous period.

International rankings
All four of the BRIC markets were in the Top 12 world rankings last year in both cinema admissions and box office revenue.

China led the way with more than $2.7 billion in 2012, and the country was also the No. 2 world market by size, behind the U.S. India was the next largest market, sixth overall in the world in 2012, while Russia climbed to the ninth position. Brazil, the only country in the Top 12 not to reach the $1 billion plateau, came in at No. 12. By 2017, both Russia and India will be among the Top 5 box office markets with a projected $2 billion in revenue, putting them ahead of the U.K. and France. Meanwhile, Brazil is forecast to be ranked No. 10 by 2017, ahead of Mexico and Italy.

Rated "D" for digital
At the end of 2012, more than 70 percent of the world's modern screens had been upgraded to digital cinema (d-cinema) technology. However, of the four territories comprising the BRIC region, only China is ahead of this penetration rate with more than 85 percent of screens upgraded in 2012. This higher rate was driven by new screen constructions, with 100 percent of all new screens based on the d-cinema standard. China now has more than 12,400 d-cinema screens in 2,926 sites.

Russia is second among BRIC countries in d-cinema with a total screen penetration reaching 58.3 percent in 2012, below the world average. The rollout in Russia has been driven almost entirely by 3-D, with a large 83 percent of the 2,100 d-cinema screens 3-D-enabled, compared to a global digital to 3-D screen ratio of just 50.8 percent for the full year of 2012.

The other two BRIC countries have a long way to go to reach the world average. Brazil ended 2012 with just 32.1 percent being converted to digital, and India's d-cinema penetration stood at only 10.2 percent (there are also 5,500 e-cinema screens).

Still, given such low penetration rates, the future growth path of these countries will open up a flood of activity for d-cinema equipment suppliers in the coming years.


New Movie Channel Launches in Russia on March 21, 2013

kino.jpgAs confirmation of the growing Russian appetite for cinema, new movie channel Kino TV has launched to a trial audience base of 500,000 with ambitions to expand to 4 million households over the next nine months. To date, the channel is licensed to offer 2,000 houfs of content, predominately film festival coverage, criticism, documentaries and indie movies from Eurasia. Russia's film culture has long been home-based after the rise of piracy in the '90s. The concern is that a new way to watch films at home could cut into the theatrical model. However, there's also an argument that the very existence of a channel such as Kino TV speaks to the audience interest in more high brow theatrical fare. 

BOX OFFICE ACTUALS: 'The Croods' Can't Unseat 'Oz' on March 20, 2013

Oz: The Great and Powerful clung on to the #1 spot on the Russian charts for the second week in a row, which is good news for Disney and bad news for DreamWorks' caveman comedy The Croods, which debuted in Russia a week before its U.S. launch. The animation studio managed only a $2,287 per-screen average in its first frame, which might not bode well for The Croods' pull at home and internationally. Still, a $3.6 million opening weekend isn't awful -- it's just got to feel disappointing. Even more disappointing: Red Dawn's $362K launch. Even switching the villains from Russians to North Koreans wasn't enough for this remake to make a dent on the charts higher than #10. Full numbers below.







Oz: The Great and Powerful





The Croods










21 and Over





The Call





Never Mind the Girl





What's Happening Men















Red Dawn




Steven Seagal Joins Forces With Vladimir Putin on March 19, 2013

putin_seagal.jpgRussian leader Vladimir Putin is infamous for his efforts to promote physical fitness, among them releasing photos of himself topless riding a horse. For his new campaign, he enlisted frequent visitor Steven Seagal, a celebrity in Russia, to make the trip to Moscow where the pair visited a martial arts school. Putin, like Seagal, holds a black belt in martial arts, though they specialize in judo and aikido, respectively. The recently reelected politician aims to reinstate the exercise programs launched by Stalin in the 1930s. "I think it would be quite appropriate to recall the positive experience of past decades when the so-called GTO, Ready for Labour and Defense, was in use in our country," said Putin in a prepared speech at the school. "The revival of this system -- in a new, modern format -- could bring major benefits."

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