Norwegian directors Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning’s action-adventure Kon-Tiki – Norway’s most expensive feature so far, shot on a $15.7m (NOK 93m) budget – took a record number of 164,191 admissions during its opening weekend on 185 screens at all theatres in Norway.

“The film is very close to us – we are happy to see it apparently found its audience,” the directors said.

unspooled on Thursday (Aug 23) at a royal command performance in Oslo’s Norwegian National Opera & Ballet attended by King Harald V and Queen Sonja – the first film screening ever in the auditorium seating 1,364. The directors and lead actors – Pål Sverre Hagen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Odd-Magnus Williamson, Tobias Sandelmann, Jakob Oftebro, Agnes Kittelsen – arrived on the wooden raft used in the film.

The real Kon-Tiki left South America for the Polynesian Islands on Apr 28, 1947, with Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl and five fellow scientists; the 8,000-kilometre journey took 101 days and was filmed by Heyerdal himself for a documentary, which won an Oscar in 1952.

The feature version was packaged by Norwegian producer Aage Aaberge for Nordisk Film Production Norway with UK producer Jeremy Thomas of Recorded Picture Company.

opened the 40th Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund last week (Aug 18), and has been selected for a special presentation during the 37th Toronto International Film Festival, which runs from Sept 6-16.

Norway’s Nordisk Film Distribusjon caters for the domestic release, and Nordisk Film for distribution in the Nordic countries. UK’s Hanway Films handles international sales, which start at the presentation in Toronto; the film has already been licensed to DCM for Germany.