UIP is considering opening its own distribution office in Russia, a country expected to become one of highest grossing cinema markets in Europe within five years.

UIP currently distributes its films in Russia through East West, a local distributor which it has worked with for the past 13 years.

A UIP source said that the company was taking a close look at the Russian market, although when and how it would open its own office had not been decided.

Senior figures from UIP travelled to Russia last month and were present at the opening of Russia's largest multiplex, the 11-screen 3,100 seat KinoStar De Lux cinema which is backed by National Amusements.

A recent Dodona Research report predicted that Russia, with a population of over 140m, was on the verge of a multiplex boom. "Russia represents one of the few untapped opportunities," it concluded.

UIP, a joint venture between Paramount and Universal, has offices in 36 countries and is represented in 177 other countries through a network of licensees and agents.