RealD Inc. (NYSE: RLD), a leading global licensor of 3D technologies, and Karo Film, one of Russia’s leading cinema chains, today announced an agreement to equip up to 200 Karo Film cinema screens across Russia with RealD 3D technology. Installation of RealD 3D technology has already begun.
“A key part of our investment in Karo Film is upgrading the movie-going experience by offering the industry’s brightest 3D presentation on both our standard and large format auditoriums. This agreement with RealD will give us the ability to equip screens of all sizes in all of our current locations with RealD 3D while allowing us to plan to offer RealD 3D in multiple new locations we expect to announce in the near future,” said Paul Heth, CEO of Karo Film.
“Having recently opened an office in Moscow, Russia is an increasingly important market for RealD and one we have targeted with ambitious plans for long-term growth. This agreement with Karo Film and Paul Heth meaningfully increases the number of screens committed to RealD 3D in the region while offering movie-goers at Karo Film locations a premium, bright and realistic visual experience that can deliver on the true promise of 3D cinema,” said Michael V. Lewis, Chairman and CEO of RealD.
Russia has grown to become one of the world’s leading cinema markets with Russian box office estimated to total approximately $1.3 billion (40.5 billion rubles) in 2012, a 15 percent increase from 2011, according to Romir Movie Research. Similarly, 3D cinema ticket sales in the region continue to grow, increasing by more than 200% between June 2010 and June 2012, according to IHS Screen Digest.
Karo Film recently announced a strategic investment by a consortium backing the Moscow-based media entrepreneur, Paul Heth, and consisting of the leading investor, Baring Vostok Private Equity, UFG Private Equity and the Russian Direct Investment Fund. The consortium acquired a controlling interest in the company and committed to an additional investment of approximately $100 million to open new multiplex cinema venues under the Karo brand over the next three years. Karo Film currently operates 31 modern movie theaters comprising of 197 screens in Moscow, the Moscow region, St. Petersburg, Nizhniy Novgorod, Samara, Kazan, Kaliningrad and Surgut.
Globally, RealD is the world’s most widely used 3D cinema technology with approximately 22,200 screens equipped with RealD 3D by approximately 1,000 exhibitors in 68 countries around the world (as of December 31, 2012).