Norwegian cinemas have got off to a flying start in 2008, boosting ticket sales by 27.8% between Jan 1-Feb 21 compared to the same period in 2007, according to statistics published by Norwegian cinema association, Film & Kino.

Local films drew 1.7m admissions in the whole of 2007. In the first seven weeks of 2008, however, local film have already registered 527,000 admissions.

Nils Gaup's The Kautokeino Rebellion is this year's best local performer to date, exceeding 250,000 admissions so far. It is now being challenged on the charts by Stian Kristiansen's The Man Who Loved Yngve (Mennen som elsket Yngve) and Arne Lindtner Næss' SOS - Summer of Suspense (SOS Svartskjær), both released earlier this month.

'Depending on Hollywood product and the supply of popular children and family films, my optimistic guess for 2008 is a total attendance of 2m,' said Film & Kino managing director Lene Løken. 'With 23 domestic premieres, local market share could reach the 20% record from 2003.'

In 2007 Norwegian admissions dropped by 10% to 10.8m; the top film at the box office, Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, saw 558,462 admissions. By selling 1.7m tickets, domestic titles controlled 16.4% of the market, which (except for 2003) is the largest share since 1975.

'Last summer was perfect, with the best July for many years, partly because of international blockbusters, partly because of smaller releases backed by word-of-mouth. But already in October we knew that the rest of the year would dry out, until the big launch of popular titles after Christmas,' Løken said.