Local films in both Estonia and Serbia/Montenegro have this week smashed local box-office records, each taking more in their home territories on their opening weekend than blockbuster Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone.
Estonian film, The Names In Marble, became the first local picture in its country's history to break box-office records in its opening weekend with the highest admission numbers in eight years.
Surpassing Harry Potter, Lord Of The Rings and Titanic, the feature debut from the renowned Estonian stage director Elmo Nüganen scooped 15,611 admissions on just four prints and grossed Euros67.000.
The Names in Marble is based on an acclaimed 1935 novel about the War of Liberation (1918-1920) that ensured Estonia's independence. It tells about a group of young schoolboys heading to the front to fight the army of Soviet Russia.
The 1.25m Euros film is a co-production between Estonia's Taska Film and Finland's Matila-Röhr Productions, and among others star the popular Finnish actor Peter Frantzen (Ambush) and has the experienced Russian DoP Sergei Astakhov (Brother, War) behind the camera. The film was distributed domestically by Motion Picture Distribution of Estonia, and was released in Finland at the same time.
The top three of Estonian opening weekends are all back from 1993 when Hot Shots, Hot Shots 2 and Home Alone surpassed 20,000 admissions. Titanic is still the highest grossing film with 132,713 admissions, whereas the most popular local movie Those Old Love Letters gathered 58.100 admissions in 1992.
In Serbria and Montenegro, Zdravko Sotra's Zamfir's Zona, distributed by Mirius and released on October 31, scored a record opening with 80,594 admissions, grossing $169,372 in four days.
Adapted from a classic Serbian novel, it beat the previous highest openers in the territory - Harry Potter and Bean.
Zamfir's Zona is expected to draw 200,000 admissions by November 11 and the distirbutor hopes to break the all time record of last year's local hit Thunderbirds, which sold 571,164 admissions.