The Russian box office is predicted to fall to $650m over 2009 compared to $830m last year. The dramatic fall is attributed to the drop in the number of new releases and a lack of Government support.

It comes as Russian distributors report a difficult start to the year with gross down by 16.33% year-on-year $319.95 m for the six months from December 1.

According to Russian Film Business Today, admissions have also fallen over the same period last year with a 5.9% dip to 62,802,067 people despite cinema ticket prices coming down by 16% from $6.7 to $5.1.

The local market saw 145 films released over the six month period, with just 58 grossing more than $1m. This compares to 186 films in the first six months of 2008, with 77 taking more than $1m. The decline is attributed to the recession that has hit the Russian film industry.

The country’s leading distributor for the year to date is Caro Premier/Caro Prokat, which has earned $81.83m and taken a 25.6% slice of the box office pie. Its sci-fi adapation of the Strugasky brothers’ 1969 novel, Inhabited Island Part One earned $21.8m during January’s high season.

Central Partnership/CP Classic is a close second 24.71% of the total box office with $70.1. Its highest grossing release is the epic drama Taras Bulba, an adaptation of the Nikolai Gogol novel of the same name, which made $16.9m.

CP Classic has also done well with Cédric Klapisch’s Paris, which has taken $318 061 with only 10 copies, while South Korean Kim ki-duk’s romantic fantasy, Dream (Bi-mong) is the highest-grossing Asian film (Premium) despite taking  just $63,568 from four screens.

Top 10 Russian Distributors

(Dec 1 2008 - May 31 2009)

DistributorBox Office ShareTotal GrossHighest-Grossing Film
Caro Premier/Caro Prokat25.58%$81.83mInhabited Island Part One ($21.84m)
Central Partnership/CP Classic24.71%$79.07mTaras Bulba ($16.99m)
BVSPR17.66%$56.5mThe Very Best Film 2 ($12.85)
20th Fox CIS13.1%,$41.90mThe Day The Earth Stood Still ($10.13m)
UPI8.22%$26.3mFast & Furious ($14.31m)
Paradise3.58%$11.44mKnowing ($6.05m)
Profit Cinema1.35%$4.33mTarif Novogodniy ($3.88 m)
Volga1.32%$4.21mSlumdog Millionaire ($3.46m)
Luxor1.11%$3.54mLargo Winch ($1.04)
Nashe Kino1.05%$3.35mThe Tale Of Fedot, The Shooter ($2.59m)

Data - curtesy of Sergei Lavrov, Russian Film Business Today