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'Gambit' Sets New Box Office Record

Published: March 4, 2005 (Issue # 1049)


MOSCOW - Turetsky Gambit, (Turkish Gambit) the latest Channel One production, collected $6.5 million in ticket sales during its first week in movie theaters.

Turetsky Gambit, the latest production from the domestic film industry, looks set to break all post-Soviet box office records, beating last year's homegrown blockbuster Nochnoi Dozor, or Night Watch.

In the first week since its release on Feb. 22, Turetsky Gambit" collected $6.5 million in ticket sales in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, the film's distributor, Gemini Film International, said Tuesday.

"Turetsky Gambit" is second only to the previous first-week record set by "The Matrix Revolutions," Gemini deputy director Vadim Ivanov said. "Night Watch" reaped $5.3 million in its first week in cinemas, later becoming Russia's best selling film to date with total revenues of $17 million in 2004.

"Both impressions from the film and arithmetic suggest that it has all the chances of becoming Russia's No. 1 film," said Ivanov.

Copies of "Turetsky Gambit" have been distributed to 365 theaters, Ivanov said, while only 300 cinemas showed "Night Watch." Before the release of "Turkish Gambit," the distribution record was held by "Alexander," which was screened in 348 theaters.

"Turetsky Gambit" is a screen adaptation of Boris Akunin's book by the same title set during the 1877-1878 Russo-Turkish War.

One possible reason that "Turetsky Gambit" had better first-week box office results than "Night Watch" is because Wednesday was a national holiday, said Yelena Maslova, an editor of industry publication Kinobiznes Segodnya.

Another reason could be that the plot of "Turetsky Gambit" is accessible to a wider audience.

Akunin's book has sold some 1 million copies since appearing in 1998. By comparison, "Night Watch," which was also published in that year, has sold about 350,000 copies.

"Turetsky Gambit" is a movie that "friends tell me is pleasant to go to with the family," said Dzhanik Faiziyev, the film's director.

The film features the Akunin character Erast Fandorin, a sleuth who is on a mission to ferret out a mole in the Russian ranks. When a beautiful woman arrives on the scene, a romance develops between the two. "Night Watch," on the other hand, is a fantasy-thriller that centers around a twisted plot including supernatural creatures.

"Turetsky Gambit" reportedly had a production budget of $3.5 million, less than the $4 million budget that "Night Watch" had.

Impressed by the success of "Night Watch," 20th Century Fox signed a deal with the film's director Timur Bekmambetov to distribute the film internationally and cooperate with production company Channel One on a big-budget prequel.

Hollywood studios have not contacted Channel One, which also produced "Turkish Gambit," for cooperation on a Fandorin series, a Channel One spokeswoman said. "People in the movie business don't react that quickly," she said.

When asked if he would accept a cooperation offer from Hollywood, director Faiziyev said: "Hell if I know. So far, I don't know what we'd get out of it."

(see review, page x, AAT)





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Nov. 27


The Customs and Transportation Committee for AmCham meets this morning at 9 a.m. in their office on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.


Tickets are still available for local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg’s showdown with Siberian club Metallurg Novokuznetsk tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Ice Palace outside the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. Tickets can be purchased on the team’s website, at the arena box office or in their merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.


Celebrate one of Russian literature’s most tragic figures during Blok Days, a two-day celebration of the 134th anniversary of the poet’s birthday. The tragic tenor’s work, which led to writer Maxim Gorky to hail him as Russia’s greatest living poet before his death in 1921, will be recited and meetings and discussions about his contributions to the Silver Age of literature in St. Petersburg will be discussed in the confines of his former residence.



Friday, Nov. 28


Join table game aficionados at the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test one’s intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only man’s best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during today’s reenactment titled “Winter War: How it Was.” More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie “Black Cat, White Cat,” as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of “Takoy Festival,” a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonight’s festival finale is “Fathers and Sons,” a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenev’s classic about familial relations.



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