Moscow, Russian Federation – Central Partnership film company, a part of Gazpom-media holding, and Empire International, one of the leading film distributors in the Middle East and the Gulf, announced a deal for theatrical release of Ekipazh (Crew) movie in the Middle East.
Crew is set to premiere on 23 June in Beirut, Lebanon. It will be the first Russian live-action title to be released in the Middle East.
Produced by TriTe studio, the film features Russia's stars Danila Kozlovsky and Vladimir Mashkov in the story of two pilots who risk their lives to save hundreds of passengers in a major distress.The film was released on 21 April in Russia and CIS and now stands as the top grossing national movie of the year in Russia.
“We have reached an agreement with Empire International during the Cannes Film Market 2016. We are proud that Crew, being the top grossing movie of the year in Russia, will be the first Russian live-action title to be released in Lebanon, UAE, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Iran, one of the few Russian titles to be released in Egypt. This is a historic moment which highlights the fact that the world of cinema and art exist separately from the politics. We hope the audience appreciates the film which has become so popular in Russia. In the meantime, we are planning to continue collaboration with Empire International for our future releases of the Premium titles,” said Pavel Stepanov, CEO of Central Partnership, Crew distributor in Russia and CIS.
«Central Partnership is one of the best and most important film companies in Russia, not only for production of local Russian films, but also as a distributor of foreign films in Russia.It was only natural that Central Partnership chose the best film distributor in the Middle East and Gulf territories for the launch of the first Russian produced blockbuster, Crew and other future CP’s productions,” said Mario G. Haddad, Chairman of Empire International, distributor of the Crew in the Middle East.
“When I first met the CEO of CP Pavel Stepanov, we immediately agreed that it was about time we present to the Arab public a choice of Russian produced films. We both agreed Crew would be the most suitable for the local public taste. The first will be released the blockbuster Crew and later the other CP projects,” continued Mario Georges Haddad.Alexander Zasypkin, Russian ambassador in Lebanon, commented: “Lebanon has never seen a Russian live-action movie distributed here. Crew which will open on 1/3 of the total screens of the territory is the best possible beginning and truly a treat for the audience. Theatrical release of Crew will be the first step in collaboration between Russia and the Middle East, especially Lebanon, in the field of cinema. We are happy to be able to bring Russian titles to the Middle East in the year, which is officially considered to be the year of the Russian Cinema.”
 According to the Bulletin of the Film Distributor, Crew’s box office reached 1.49 billion rubles as of 5 June 2016.
Created in 1998 at the height of the cinema boom in the Arab world, Empire International acts as the foreign arm of Les Fils de Georges Haddad & Co., distributing Columbia TriStar and Twentieth Century Fox films as well as independent acquisitions by Jaguar Film International across the UAE, in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Syria, Jordan and Egypt.
In the Gulf, it exists under the banner name of Empire International Gulf, the offices of which are located in Dubai. In Egypt, it operates through Allied Film Distributors (AFD).
Empire International Gulf and AFD run their operations in cooperation with the Beirut head office, supplying films to exhibitors, marketing movies, organizing events and promotions to maximize exposure and elevate a release to blockbuster status.
Film Company was established in 1996. It incorporates Central Partnership Production and Central Partnership Sales House distributing theatrical and TV rights.
Central Partnership owns the largest library in Russia comprising over 700 features and 3300 hours of TV series. Central Partnership is an exclusive distributor of Paramount Pictures in Russia, and a similar contract with Summit Entertainment, the largest independent studio, was signed in 2012.
In February 2014, Central Partnership became affiliated to Gazprom-media holding.