The multiplex building boom in Hungary has helped box office receipts for local productions increase by 15% according to figures from the Hungarian Film Union (HFU).

Hungary has become the undisputed multiplex capitol of Eastern Europe, boasting 13 multiplexes at the end of 1999 and two on the way in the first part of 2000. According to HFU figures, the building spree increased the number of screenings available for domestic films by 32% during 1999 to 16,878. Box office receipts were up 15% to $1.06m (HF274.6m) over the same period. The most successful local films were Pirates, which scooped $280,000 (HF71.4m), Peter Timar's 6:3, which made $160,000 (HF41m) and The Lord's Lantern In Budapest, directed by Miklos Jansco, which made $43,000 (HF11m).

The building boom is driven by the many new shopping malls that have been built in Hungary over the past three years. Ster Century has been one of the leading players in the Hungarian exhibition market opening a 12-screen and a 14-screen complex in Budapest at the end of last year. The 14-screen complex boasts a new digital theatre with 3D effects.

Pioneering multiplex development is Andy Vajna-controlled Intercom which opened Hungary's first multiplex in Budapest three years ago. It has now added theatres in the cities of Kecskemet, Pecs, Sopron, Gyor, Szekesfehevar and Debrecen.

Intercom has also announced plans to open Romania's first multiplex in Bucharest later this year.