Russia 's Channel One/Solyaris production and 20th Fox CIS distributor topped the Russian box office with Admiral following its world premiere last Monday.

Having taken $11.3m in Russia alone, Andrei Kravchuk's biopic is now the biggest Russian opener of all time, beating the $9.6m first weekend record set by The Irony Of Fate: The Sequel in 2007.

The Irony Of Fate, also produced by Channel One and distributed by Fox, went on to become the most successful release to date in Russia, amassing a cumulative gross of $50m.

Channel One and Fox, who were also behind the success of Timur Bekmambetov sequels Nightwatch and Daywatch, ($48m cumulative gross for both), expect Admiral to beat all previous records.

Admiral, which boasted a budget of $20m, a huge amount for a Russian film, was created for both cinema and television. Initially it will be released as a feature film running at 123 minutes, but it will also be shown as a 10 episode TV drama on Channel One in the near future.

Promoted as Russia's answer to Titanic, Admiral has similarities to the Hollywood blockbuster. Like Titanic it is a story of tragic love set against the backdrop of colossal historical events, in this case the Russian Civil War.

The historical genre is a growing trend in Russia. Other successful epic features of the past two years in Russia include 1612, Alexander: Nevsky Battle, Mongol, and Gentlemen Officers: Save The Emperor.

The latter, like Admiral, marks a change in the cinematic portrayal of Russian Civil War heroes. The Bolsheviks are no longer the stars of the show and for the first time in years, members of the imperial White Army are portrayed as Russia's true war heroes.

The Soviet state historically used Red Army films to endorse a party-line and echoes of this remain in Russia today. However, films of this genre are popular as they chime with Russian patriotism, which is becoming increasingly prevalent.

Despite this, there is no arguing with the previous successes from Channel One and 20th Fox CIS. With this in mind, there is every chance that predictions of a similarly fruitful outcome will prove true for Admiral.