While Renfilm's The Return has been racking up awards at Venice for its director Andrei Zvyagintsev, another Russian film has been making news at home.

Boomer, directed by 27 year old Peter Buslov and produced by Moscow's Pygmalion Productions has taken more than $600,000 at the Russian box office since its release at the beginning of August, a record for a Russian film.

Boomer is slang for a BMW and the film is a story about four young gangsters who set off in a BMW only to come to a tragic end. Its young director is already being hailed as a new Russian Tarantino as audiences have been attracted to the film's hip slang and its depiction of the gangster culture. A Boomer 2 is already being discussed.

Boomer is a beneficiary of the general improvement that the Russian box office has seen over the past few years and it looks like some of the success is beginning to filter down to Russian films. Boomer was released on 38 prints, still a small number compared to a film like Matrix Reloaded which was released on 184 prints this summer.

More than 100 features are expected to be produced this year but in 2002 Russian films took only 5 percent of the total box office. According to figures released by Russian trade magazine Film Business, total box office grosses are running at 34 percent above last year for the second quarter of 2003. The box office gross was cited as $43.6 m as opposed to $32.6 for 2002 for the same period.

Last year's top film Lord Of The Rings grossed $7.15m but this year The Two Towers has already grossed $9.05m. The growth at the box office has been fuelled by the steadily increasing number of cinemas which this year will top 300 screens as well as the increasing spending power of average Russians.