“We were called crazy!,” recalls CEO Oleg Tronik, reflecting on the 2014 birth of Silver Screen Cinemas.
What is now, in 2021, four theaters—with one opened in March 2021, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic—was then just one, but that one passed a pretty significant milestone: Silver Screen’s Galileo theater, in the capital city of Minsk, was the first multiplex in the Eastern European nation of Belarus.
Traditionally, cinemas in Belarus have either been privately owned single locations or, more frequently, theaters owned and run by the state. Prior to Silver Screen’s emergence, the former Soviet country had no chains or multiplexes to speak of. Government-owned cinemas, though well-placed in centrally located areas, typically aren’t of the highest-quality, Tronik explains—and with their standard of having one screen apiece, they certainly didn’t provide cinemagoers with much by way of variety, either among programming or the exhibition amenities that audiences in other countries have access to.
“There was no [moviegoing] culture” in Belarus, Tronik says. The country’s per capita annual movie attendance rate was the lowest of any former Soviet country…..