Cinemas in Russia and the CIS saw a 3.7% year-on-year increase in admissions in the first half of 2008 while sales in the first six months of the year ballooned 38.2% over the same period in 2007.

According to Russian Film Business Today, more than 56m tickets were sold in cinemas and Russia and the CIS, bringing in $382.4m. Average ticket price has climbed from $5.60 in 2007 to $6.90 this year.

The figures put the territory on track to exceed 2007's sales ($566.9m) and admissions (110m).

Of the 186 films released so far in 2008, 77 have earned more than $1m. Four have been release to more than 700 screens - the benchmark set last year by Pirates Of The Carribean: At World's End.

Russian Film Business Today estimates that box-office total for the year will be between $750m and $770m.

20th Century Fox CIS leads Russian distributors with a 25.4% market share, followed by Caro Premier/Caroprokat, UPI and BVSPR. Fox's grosses were up 85.7%, partly on the strength of Timur Bekmambetov's Irony Of Fate: The Sequel.

Of the top five films, the top two are Russian. Irony Of Fate: The Sequel has grossed nearly $50m and become the most successful film, foreign or domestic, ever in Russia.

Caroprokat's The Very Best Film, a spoof of recent Russian hits, holds the No. 2 spot on earnings of $27.6m.

UPI distributes the No. 3 hit, Wanted, also directed by Bekmambetov, which narrowly exceeded box-office predictions, earning $25.8m since July 26. UPI also distributes No. 5, Kung-Fu Panda ($20.7m).

Hancock, released in Russia by BVSPR, opened the Moscow Film Festival on June 19 and grossed $11.8m in its first four days. It's total earnings of $20.3m make it the fourth most film lucrative film this year.

Hancock has held its position against Hellboy II: The Golden Army (UPI) but could be overwhelmed by Batman when Caro Premier releases The Dark Knight on Aug 14.