With multi-screen cinema infrastructures already established in some Central and Eastern European territories such as Poland and the Czech Republic, the region's more underdeveloped territories are now seeing the initial signs of multiplex growth.

Of the 12 multiplexes opened last year in the region, three were in the embryonic cinema markets of Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, and were the first such multiplexes in those territories according to the Cinemagoing Central & Eastern Europe report from UK-based industry analysts Dodona Research.

In Romania, Hungarian company Intercom opened a 10-screen cinema in Bucharest in July 2000, and the territory has seen its screen count rise from 293 in 2000 to 330 in 2001. Dodona predicts that by 2002 admissions in Romania will reach 6.5 million, up from 5.1million in 2000.

Although Slovakian admissions fell by 14% to 2.6 million in 2000, a Ster Century multiplex which opened in November 2000, is expected to have a positive impact, and with further growth overall admissions are predicted to rise to 3.6 million in 2002.

A new 12-screen 3,400-seat cinema in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, is also expected to help the territory's admissions move upwards, from 2.1 million in 2000 towards a projected 3 million in 2002.

"In contrast to some of the disappointments elsewhere, we have found ourselves upgrading some of our forecasts for this region," says Dodona's Katharine Wright.

Bulgaria and Serbia are also expected to get their first multiplexes in the next two to three years.