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Nymphomaniac off to modest start in Denmark

The film has been seen by less than a 10th of the audience that turned out for von Trier’s early hit Breaking The Waves.

The most-hyped Danish release of the year, Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, which was launched domestically by Nordisk Film Biografdistribution on December 25 last year, has so far reached 24,694 admissions – far from topping the local charts.

This was the 4-hour shorter version of the film (von Trier is also preparing a likely 5.5-hour director’s cut).

Nymphomaniac is a very special film, particularly in length – it runs up to five hours, including intermission and commercials,” said managing director Jan Lehmann, of Nordisk Film Biografdistribution. “Aware of this we estimated to get approximately 25,000 admissions.”

“The French Cannes winner, Blue Is the Warmest Colour - comparable for good reviews, content and (almost) length – has sold about 40,000 tickets, but it was supported by Cinema Club Denmark (offering reduced ticket prices), released in 88 prints with several screenings a day.”

The length of Nymphomaniac — even this ‘shorter’ version — was always going to limit the number of screenings per day.

“von Trier’s film came out in two parts on 27 screens, on a double bill, with a maximum of two daily performances, so having now achieved the 25,000 admissions we have adjusted the estimate to approximately 40,000,” Lehmann concluded. It has not yet been decided when the longer director’s cut will reach the Danish screens (the longer version of Part 1 will debut at the Berlinale).

“The length has probably frightened the audiences, but news interest for Nymphomaniac, as well of erotic fare in general, has also faded, and US stars as LaBeouf, Thurman and Dafoe in such a film are not great attractions,” added Kim Pedersen, chairman of the Danish Cinema Association. “It will be interesting to see how it performs in the US.”

While von Trier accounts for 45.5% of all international admissions for Danish films abroad, according to a recent analysis conducted by Pedersen, his ticket sales in Denmark ranges between 298,548 (for Breaking the Waves/1996) to 5,474 (Epidemic/1987).

Nymphomaniac is running neck-to-neck with Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt (Jagten) for the Danish Bodil awards, from the Danish Film Critics Association, which will be announced on February 1, both nominated in six categories.

It is not competing for the Danish Film Academy’s Robert prizes, which will be given on January 26; Zentropa Entertainments has decided not to enter the film until von Trier’s original cut has been premiered. Part 1 has been selected for this year’s Berlinale (February 6-16).

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