KARO opens largest theatre in Russia


KARO, one of Russia’s fastest-growing cinema chains, debuted a 22-screen megaplex in Moscow’s Vegas Crocus City shopping mall on July 20. The largest movie theatre in Russia, the KARO Vegas 22 will have its official launch in September.

Paul Heth, CEO of KARO, gave the press a personal tour of the new cinema venue, joined by Robert Mason, head of RealD Europe.

The tour included “KARO Strike,” a bowling zone with 12 lanes; “KARO Prestige,” five screening halls with premium service, their own lounge bar and personal concierge; “KARO Express,” interactive terminals for purchasing tickets and using the company’s new self-service food and beverage system; and demonstrations of the company’s vibrating Turbo seating technology and “LUXE: A RealD Experience.”

Heth declared, “Our KARO Vegas 22 is the most ambitious, large-scale and technically advanced cinema of the modern Russian era, and represents our strong financial commitment to the overall growth of the Russian film market. For the Vegas 22 project we reimagined the film-going experience from every aspect, taking into the account the increased expectations of our patrons, due to the many technical advances presented by the digital age… KARO Vegas 22 reflects people’s views of what they want the movie theatre of the future to be: It is highly stylish and contemporary, innovative, and offers the highest level of comfort—so much so, that it will dramatically change the whole perception and experience of going to the movies.”
KARO Vegas 22 is part of the chain’s $150 million investment program to modernize existing cinemas and build new theatres in Russia in 2014 and 2015.

The Vegas 22 will also host the circuit’s new “Arts and Classics” program. Heth stated, “In addition to exhibiting both local and international blockbusters, we want to give first-time Russian film directors an opportunity to introduce their work to our patrons.  We also want to bring classics from Russia’s tremendous and rich film history back on the screens so they can be enjoyed by a new generation of filmgoers. All this is done so that everyone can find something they like in our movie theatre. Technological advance and high quality do not exclude variety and accessibility.”

RealD’s Mason offered details on his company’s LUXE concept: “LUXE: A RealD Experience is a sophisticated solution from RealD offering cinemas the premium large-format package which includes a wide screen, super-bright and sharp image, immersive 3D sound [Barco’s Auro 11.1] and comfortable seats. Russia is the first territory where we are introducing the LUXE brand. Screening halls in China and Brazil will also open later this year. We are happy to be partnering with KARO, a cinema chain which shares our aspiration to bring the best possible quality and vividness to film viewing.”

Discussing the pricing policy, Heth noted, “I’ve been working here in Russia since 1993. It has always been crucial for me that what I do is accessible and affordable for everyone. As is the case in other KARO movie theaters, KARO Vegas 22 will offer discounts to schoolchildren, students and pensioners. For everyone else, the price will be consistent with market principles.”

Russian film producer Anatoly Maksimov saluted the new complex, stating, “Right next to the great art of filmmaking is another art, less conspicuous at first glance—the art of movie screening. Where and how we watch a film largely determines how we feel about it. The great movie screening industry has emerged right before our eyes. Not only are the Russian cinemas well up to world standards, they often outdo them. Paul Heth and his head film executive Olga Chirikhina’s team are rightfully considered the founders of our domestic cinema industry. I can’t help but admire everything they do. It makes me want to shoot films worthy of the movie theatres they create.”

Leading Russian director Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted, Night Watch) said, “I sincerely congratulate my colleagues from the KARO cinema chain on their new, ambitious project. This unique movie theatre sets a new standard of film viewing and I hope that within these wonderful screening halls the audience will get an even more intense and colorful experience from watching our films. New screening possibilities give us, the filmmakers, a greater freedom to create and inspire us to produce spectacular, cutting-edge, larger-than-life movies. I sincerely wish KARO full screening halls and we will do our best to help with that.”

KARO Vegas 22 is the chain’s 30th movie theatre. It has 4,477 seats and takes up over 18,000 square meters, making it one of the largest cinemas in Europe. In December, the chain plans to open KARO Sky 17 in the Avia Park shopping mall in Moscow.