BuenaVista International, Inc. (BVI) and Sony Pictures Releasing International(SPRI) have formed a joint venture to distribute their respective films inRussia.

Themove follows a similar agreement for South Korea struck by the parties lastmonth and takes effect on Jan 1, 2007.

Russiabecomes the 15th territory in which the two companies are partners. The othersinclude Brazil, Mexico, Malaysia, Singapore, Switzerland, India and Taiwan.

Upcomingreleases include Pirates Of The Caribbean 3: At World's End, Spider-Man 3, Disney/Pixar's Ratatouille, The Pursuit Of Happyness, and Ghost Rider,among others.

"Thesize, importance and growth of the Russian market have made it essential for usto create our own organisation and to be actively involved in the sales andmarketing of each title," Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group president MarkZoradi said.

"Foreight years BVI distributed films through Cascade who proved to be an excellentpartner with record breaking releases in Russia such as Pirates Of TheCaribbean: Dead Man's Chest. We lookforward to our new joint venture with SPRI, and together we will continue tobring the best filmed entertainment to this fast-moving market."

"Russiais emerging as one of the fastest growing motion picture markets in theworld," Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group's president of worldwideoperations Paul Smith added.

"Whilewe couldn't be more grateful to Cascade for their leadership and expertise inthis territory, its time for Sony to take the next step in this region andlaunch an office of our own along with BVI."