Local Scandinavian films are giving the US majors' summer releases a hard run for their money at the box office across a number of Nordic territories.
Last week end, America's Sweethearts not only saw itself losing out to Norwegian opener The Greatest Thing, but also had to accept second place in Sweden, where action feature Executive Protection (Livvakterna) remains at the top of the box office for the third week running.
Executive Protection has now amassed a total gross of $1,519,694, while Swedish thriller Beck - Revenge also remains in the top 10 with a total gross of $2,038,606.
Sweden has traditionally enjoyed good box office for domestic releases, with a market share usually between 18% and 25%. And since most of the gross of Jalla! Jalla! (total gross $4.9m) was achieved in 2001, the domestic share for 2001 will remain strong, even though most Swedish producers and distributors are reluctant to release further features this year in anticipation of US heavyweights Harry Potter and The Lord Of The Rings.
Denmark will also have at least one domestic feature among the highest grossing films of the year. Comedy Anja & Viktor has already achieved a box office gross of $3.1m, after just five weeks on release, far outperforming US autumn hopefuls Pearl Harbor's $2.5m and Bridget Jones's $1.8m.
But perhaps the most significant indication of the current strength of Scandinavian product is in Norway, where for the first time in over a decade domestic results give the impression of a healthy film industry. Local drama-comedy Me Myself & I (Elling) with its running total of $4.5m is the highest grossing film of the year, and it's a fair bet that the title will give both The Lord Of The Rings and Harry Potter heavy competition best performing film of the year.
Local Norwegian sensation Cool & Crazy has achieved an outstandingly high gross of $3.2m, especially for a documentary - at least five times as much as a domestic feature usually manages. Both titles are still showing legs in the top 20 after more than six months on release.
Meanwhile, not wanting to be left out, Finland has its own success story. Local drama The Rose Of The Rascal is currently the highest grossing film of the year, with a total take of $2.6m - an achievement that will be hard to beat in a country where word of mouth counts for much more than marketing spend.