FNE speaks to Georgain multiplex operator David Mirtskhulava

    Cinema Rustaveli Cinema Rustaveli

    Film New Europe met David Mirtskhulava This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Executive Manager of distribution for the only Georgian chain of multiplexes.

    The company consists of Cinema Amirani LTD (3 screening halls; 648 seats) and Cinema Rustaveli LTD (5 screening halls; 858 seats) in Tbilisi, Cinema Apollo LTD (1 screening hall; 154 seats) in Batumi, Film Distribution LTD and Light Bank LTD, dealing with the production. The number of staff varies from 250 to 300.

    In the beginning of 2000’s the company acquired Cinema Amirani and since then it has been employing an expansion policy. The company is a purely Georgian establishment, without any international financial support.

    The same movies are featured in all theatres (http://kinoafisha.ge/default.aspx); however, each of them has a specific target audience. Cinema Amiraniis more oriented toward art-house moviegoers, while the focus of Cinema Rustaveli is more on the young audience.

    The company uses different kinds of marketing approaches, mainly ads are published via outdoor advertisements and web-portals. Due to the high price of advertising spots on the Georgian television, the number of TV commercials is low. The management aims to distribute the information through the blog www.digitalculture.ge, as the main audience consists of active internet consumers: young people from 12 to 25 years old.

    The screening programme and the overall film selection process is run by the executive manager of the distribution. Mirtskhulava told FNE: “Art-house production is approximately 15%.” Unfortunately, at present the company is not able to use push art-house films as the number of screening halls is insufficient: in total nine halls in three cinemas, including five halls in Cinema Rustaveli, three halls in Cinema Amirani and one hall in Apollo, Batumi.  Except for one hall, all are digitalized.

    The multiplex audience has been growing. From 2012 to 2013 there was 32% increase in the number of moviegoers, and a similar increase is expected for 2014. 

    The company uses different discount systems: economy ticket (tickets bought two days in advance cost 3.00 Gel, or approximately 1.25 EUR): student discount (5 GEL per ticket); and online discounts (Internet users can buy the discount using online shopping platforms www.swoop.ge, www.vovovo.ge).

    “We are partnering with a very wide range of festivals, such as Tbilisi International Film Festival, CineDOC-Tbilisi, etc. For these kinds of cinematic events we provide halls for significantly low price,” Mirtskhulava said.

    The company cooperates with major production studios, such as Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, and Universal. According to Mirtskhulava, 30% of distribution comes from Ukraine and 30% is from Russia. The rest, 40%, is classified as other.

     In the case of national film production, the company takes 40% of ticket revenue, and 60% goes to the production company.

    Finally, on the issue of pirated films. Mirtskhulava notes that the problem is of a vital importance. “Unfortunately, there are no governmental regulations regarding pirate activities. We have a person attached to pirated production who surfs the web and monitors film uploads,” he said.

    The company represents the sole multiplex in Georgia; however, with the discount systems for the audience and hall tenants, it is not engaged in monopolistic discourse.