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29 April 2022

Central Partnership Turns 25

Central Partnership was established 25 years ago in March 1996 and, in that time, we have undergone an incredible transformation from an unknown—but ambitious—newcomer into an industry leader and the largest film distributor in Russia. We have been part of Gazprom Media, one of the biggest media giants in Russia and Eastern Europe, since 2014 (joining the GPM KIT Group of Companies, which is part of Gazprom Media, in 2016).

Based on the results of 2020, Central Partnership’s share at the box office of domestic films reached 52%, which is just slightly lower than the record 58% it reached in 2019. Thus, we have retained our position as the leader in Russian film distribution. Moreover, we were the top distributor in 2020 in terms of earnings from all films, with a box office of more than 6 billion rubles and a share of 28.6%.

We have set multiple industry records and pioneered many innovative solutions and technological experiments, both in content production as well as distribution on Russian and foreign markets:

  • Central Partnership has been an exclusive partner of Paramount Pictures since 2009, releasing all the Hollywood studio’s films to theaters with great success;
  • We’re a pioneer in delivering content to movie theaters, having completely abandoned physical copies and becoming the first Russian distributor to transmit digitally through the internet and by satellite;
  • We are also a leader in terms of cooperating with online services, gradually abandoning DVD distribution, which was becoming irrelevant on the fast-changing market, and becoming the first major copyright holder to offer films and shows from our media library for sale online;
  • As an aggregator of EST and TVOD content for Apple and Google, we have been the leader in terms of uploading films in iTunes and Google Play since 2016;
  • Three films that we released into movie theaters over the past few years are among the Top 5 box-office earners over the last decade. Two of these are the highest grossing films in the history of Russian film distribution (Kholop/The Peasant, at 3.1 billion rubles, and Dvizhenie Vverh/Going Vertical, at 3 billion rubles, according to Russian Cinema Fund’s Analytics);
  • The blockbuster Going Vertical became the highest grossing Russian film at the worldwide box office, as well as the highest grossing Russian film ever at the Chinese box office, earning 14.3 million dollars with more than 3 million viewers.
Central Partnership is one of the oldest and most respected film companies in Russia. We know and love films like no one else. We shoot, distribute, sell and buy the iconic films and TV series that generations of viewers have grown up with. For me, working in the company is a great honor and a great responsibility. In recent years we managed to achieve a lot in terms of developing and promoting the film industry in Russia and abroad, but there are still many great challenges and ambitious goals ahead of us. The film industry is an amazing, fascinating and diverse world that is familiar and understandable to all. Come fly with us!
Vadim Vereschagin CEO of Central Partnership

Our business strategy has evolved over the years. At first, we focused on television distribution,  only entering the film distribution market in 2000 and simultaneously starting to develop our own films and TV shows, including the high-quality and highly rated TV series Rodina Zhdet (The Motherland is Waiting), Ofitzery (Officers), Likvidatsiya (Liquidation), Master i Margarita (The Master and Margarita), Doctor Zhivago, Apostol (Apostle), Isaev, Strasti po Chapayu (Chapaev Passions) and Sherlock Holmes. There were also several cult films made during this early period, such as Volkodav (Wolfhound), Rusalka (The Mermaid), Taras Bulba, the Boy s Tenyu trilogy (Shadow Boxing), and Brestskaya Krepost (The Brest Fortress).

Central Partnership was simultaneously expanding its activities in film distribution. Once we had a firm grip on the auteur film segment, we started working on large-scale blockbusters by becoming the exclusive distributor of Paramount Pictures in Russia and the CIS. Overall, Central Partnership has released 737 films, including 199 Russian films.

Since 2007, our strategy has focused on putting together our own content library, which now includes the best domestic films, as well as the most interesting projects by European, Asian and North American filmmakers. Overall, we have more than 580 Russian and foreign films and more than 234 TV shows, with dozens of new projects added every year.

The latest step in our development focuses on international content distribution and investment in Russian filmmaking. Our co-investment package currently features 32 films and is constantly growing, with our specialists choosing the projects they support with great care based on past experience; analytics; and, naturally, intuition. Our filmography is impressive:

  • 2016: the blockbusters Ekipazh (Flight Crew), in partnership with Nikita Mikhalkov’s TRITE Studio, and Viking, in partnership with Direktsiya Kino;
  • 2017: the films Legenda o Kolovrate (Furious), in partnership with KIT Film Studio, and Going Vertical;
  • 2018: Rubezh (Frontier), a coproduction with KIT Film Studio, which won viewers’ choice as the best film of the year, and T-34, which became one of the Top 5 highest grossing domestic films in the history of Russian film distribution;
  • 2019: the films Milliard (Billion) (with RSS Production) and The Peasant (with YBW);
  • 2020: major new films such as Serebryannye Konki (The Silver Skates), Ogon (Fire), and Chernobyl.

Central Partnership is a market leader in promoting Russian films on international markets: distribution rights for a number of films for movie theaters, television and online have been sold to more than 200 countries, including China and the United States: Fire, The Silver Skates, Chernobyl, Flight Crew, Viking, Furious, Frontier, Going Vertical, Trener (Coach), and Rusalka. Ozero Mertvykh (Mermaid), Billion, T-34, and others. Despite recent restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, Central Partnership was able not only to maintain, but also strengthen and expand the presence of Russian films on foreign markets in 2020.