Nils Gaup’s Journey to the Christmas Star, the first Norwegian release from the Walt Disney Company Nordic, managed to outmanoeuvre James Bond hit Skyfall.
Launched on Fri (Nov 9) on 225 screens, the film – locally titled Reisen til julestjernen – topped the charts with 72,400 admissions during its opening weekend, beating Skyfall (71,899).
However, Bond still made more money with Skyfall taking $1.3m (NOK 7.7m) compared to Christmas Star’s $992k (NOK 5.7m).
It was this year’s second-best result for a local film, after Kon-Tiki.
The latest take on Norwegian author Sverre Brandt’s 1924 play has sold to 74 territories through German international distributor Sola Media.
The Sigurd Mikal Karoliussen-Jan Eirik Langøen production for Moskus Film, with Jørgen Storm Rosenberg and Lasse Greve Alsos for Storm Rosenberg, was shot on a $5 million (NOK 29 million) budget mainly in the Czech Republic, adding more than 100 CGI sequences, from a script by Kamilla Krogsveen.
The film follows 14-year-old Sonja, who chooses to help the King find his daughter who has disappeared searching for the Christmas Star.
Starring newcomer Vilde Marie Zeiner, Agnes Kittelsen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen and Evy Kasseth Røsten, the family-adventure will introduce Norwegian Christmas to the Middle East during the upcoming Dubai International Film Festival.
Gaup, who was Oscar-nominated for Pathfinder (1987), said: “The story has mythical qualities, which are difficult to decipher – it takes place on locations that do not exist where all those adventurous things you cannot do can be done.”
His previous feature, The Kautokeino Rebellion (2008), sold 350,000 tickets in Norway.
Sola Media began international sales earlier this year and screened the film for the first time at the American Film Market.
Major deals include the UK (Metrodome), Germany (Polyband Medien) and China (CSUN).