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Scandinavian box office 2011: Norway shows largest gains in Europe; Finland slips as local films lose market share

While Norwegian cinemas last year delivered the largest growth of the theatrical market in Europe, with admissions 5.7% up on 2010, and Swedish attendance went up by 3.7%, both Denmark and Finland registered a decline in ticket sales by 3% and 6.6%, respectively, according to 2011 statistics published by national film bodies.

Swedish cinema admissions totalled 16.4 million, with Swedish productions controlling 19.8% of the market. While attendance was 3.7% up on 2010, domestic market share was slightly down (from 20.8%). Five Swedish titles sold more than 250,000 tickets, three of them on the list of Top Ten Films: Kjell Sundvall’s The Hunters 2 (Jägarna 2/No 4), Colin Nutley’s House of Angels – Third Time Lucky (Änglagård - tredje gången gillt/No 6), Lena Koppel’s The Importance of Tying Your Own Shoes (Hur många lingon finns det i världen/No 10). Still Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 ruled, pulling in an 869,490 audience, according to the Swedish Film Institute’s yearly statement.

In Denmark Danish director Martin Zandvliet’s A Funny Man (Dirch) [pictured] and four local comedies on the list of Top Ten films boosted domestic market share from 22% to 28%, contributing to the total result of 13 million admissions, against 12.6 million the previous year (3% down). A 2010 release, Mikkel Nørgaard’s Clown – The Movie (Klovn – The Movie) placed No 7 to reach 855,000 and become the most popular Danish movie in 20 years. The biopic of Danish comedian Dirch Passer, A Funny Man was only exceeded on the charts by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (663,000) in the preliminary statistics released by the Danish Distributors’ Association (FAFID).

Finnish cinema admissions dropped by 6.6% to 7.1 million, mainly due to the performance of domestic films which lost 12% of their market share, to control 17% against 27% in 2010. Three installments of veteran producer Markus Selin’s Vares thriller franchise accounted for 31% of the local 1.2 million attendance, including Anders Engström’s Vares - The Kiss of Evil, second on the charts only to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. ”During the last 10 years the local market share has varied between 27%-10%, 17% is acceptable, although we had hoped for more, considering the great variety of films,” said managing director Irina Krohn, of the Finnish Film Foundation, which published the figures.

As previously reported, Norwegian cinemas registered last year’s largest growth of the theatrical market in Europe, with an 11.7 million attendance – up 5.7% on 2010 – and the best local market share (24.5%) since 1975. Detailed statistics from Norwegian cinema association, Film & Kino, show that 25% (2.9 million) of the tickets were sold to 3D screenings, ”an increase proportional with the number of 3D films and the theatres which can show them,” per head of department Jørgen Stensland, of Film & Kino.

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