Finnish director Juha Wuolijoki’s Christmas Story has been picked up for the US by Lightning Media.
The film was Finland’s top local blockbuster in 2007, reaching 270,000 admissions on domestic release.
At the same time as the US pick up, Finnish distributor, Sandrew Metronome, will re-release the film in Finland, starting on Nov 14.
‘The film has a tremendous appeal for audiences of all ages, and has the potential of being a staple in the Christmas film category,’ said co-president of Lightning Media, Paul Gardner, who concluded the deal with Xiaojuan Zhou, of world sales agent Delphis Films.
Also produced by Wuolijoki, for Snapper Films, the $3.1m (Euros 2.5m) Christmas Story is set centuries ago in remote Lapland, and follows a young boy’s journey into becoming the Santa Claus the world knows and loves. It won the audience award for Best in World Cinema at the Sarasota film festival.
‘No other Finnish live-action feature has matched the foreign distribution of Wuolijoki’s debut,’ explained Snapper Films’ head of production, Aleksi Hyvärinen. ‘So far it has been sold to almost 100 countries, with theatrical releases in many of them.’
Lightning Media, the domestic distribution arm of Lightning Entertainment Group, has acquired all rights for America. According to Gardner, the company has subsequently secured multi-platform deals with Anchor Bay Entertainment and Lions Gate in America.