A new Yugoslavian Republic distribution company is struggling to find an opening for its first release: Hanniba,l as all the theaters in the key city of Belgrade (which constitutes 60% of the market) have been reserved until Summer 2002.

Millennium Film & Video was recently launched by two existing distributors: the Bulgarian Alexandra Group and the Croatian company, Blitz. Alexandra president Alexandar Minchev, with a virtual monopoly in Bulgarian theatrical and video distribution, teamed up with Hrvoje Krstulovic, president of the strongest Croatian distributor Blitz, to form a distribution company in Yugoslavia.

Millennium Film & Video currently holds theatrical rights to Hannibal, Traffic, Bandits, What Women Want and Enigma. In addition, it holds video rights for product from 20th Century Fox, MGM, Universal and DreamWorks and is planning to secure Disney video output as well.

With top quality publicity materials, far beyond the usual standard of the Yugoslavian industry, Millennium is facing strong resistance from existing local distributors, who resent the well-funded upstart trying to muscle in on the territory. The local industry has been struggling for a decade to stay alive in the face of war, UN economic embargoes, hyperinflation, the NATO bombing in 1999, and above all, highly developed piracy, and all of this under Milosevic's regime.

However, whether external competition or national loyalty end up shaping the emerging market, until a new film law is developed by the local Parliament in spring 2002, the only clear winner remains the pirates.