Cinema building boom advances in Central Europe


    The number of cinema screens across Central Europe is set to rise to more than 3,000 by 2011, says a report by the U.K.-based film industry analysts Dodona Research.

    The report, "Cinemagoing Central Europe," predicts admissions will rise by 25% over the next five years, bolstered by the new investment as well as by the region's strong domestic film industries.

    The new building will in many cases replace traditional cinemas, so the net rise in screens will be around 11% from 2006.

    Central Europe is one of the few remaining regions in the world where new cinema construction is booming, said the report, which was released Aug.13. Poland, the largest market, will see the most growth in new multiplexes. Poland's first multiplex was opened in 1998 and,since then, more than 400 multiplex screens have been built.

    Smaller markets such as Croatia and Romania still have many formerly state-owned cinemas, many of which are expected to close and be replaced by modern multiplexes.

    The entire region had a disastrous year in 2005, but the majority of markets proved able to bounce back in 2006.

    "Our analysis revealed that Slovakia posted the strongest results in 2006 with a 53% rise in admissions from the previous year," said report author Alisdair Ritchi. "Dodona expects them to rise by a further 21% by 2011."

    However, the strongest growth is expected in the larger, more mature market of the Czech Republic, where admissions are forecast to rise by more than 50% by 2011. The country already has one of the strongest rates of cinema attendance in the region