Russia's most expensive film, the $36.5m Inhabited Island, will be released on January 1.

The New Year's Day opening comes against a background of financial difficulties which have led to other local films being delayed.

'None of our projects were put on hold. We only have a couple of films in the pipeline anyway, and those were all very carefully and securely financed,' said Alexander Rodnyansky, the film's producer and President of CTC Media.

'The crisis did however have a negative impact on Inhabited Island's promotion budget,' he added. Large companies and banks that were supposed to invest in the promotion campaign pulled out, forcing CTC to cut the promotion budget.

The film will premiere in Russia, the C.I.S., and the Baltic states on January 1, said Rodnyansky. Ukraine will have 150 copies, and the Russian release will be across more than 1,200 screens.

The film, based on the Strugatsky brothers' 1969 novel Prisoners Of Power, is a sci-fi dystopian tale about a totalitarian planet, set in the distant future.

The first film adapted from a novel by the brothers was Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker in 1979. And although Inhabited Island is an epic, full of special effects unprecedented in Russia and packed with action, the film is promising to be more than just another run of the mill sci-fi flick.

Rodnyansky explains, 'This film is a combination of breath-taking action and a strong social ethos, the latter being more important than the spectacle aspect to a lot of people.'

'It will definitely be understood outside Russia. In fact, films like this will appeal for as long as totalitarian power remains topical,' added Rodnyanskiy.

On attendance numbers, the producer commented, 'the crisis might actually have a positive affect on cinema attendance, as it is one of the cheapest types of entertainment there is.'

'Besides, this crisis will hopefully lower production costs, which have been sky high in Russia recently. It was more expensive to shoot a film in Russia than in Germany,' added Rodnyansky.

Inhabited Island will be shown in two parts in Russia and the C.I.S, with the second part due to be released in October, 2009.

The film which is four hours long, will be edited into a single film for its release in Europe, the US and Asia.

The film's international release is due to take place in the second half of 2009.