For the third consecutive year, Norwegian features sold more than 2.5 million or more tickets domestically, to control a record 23% of the market (against 20.6% in 2009).

In total theatrical admissions, however, reached only 11m, 13% down on last year, according to preliminary statistics from Norwegian cinema association, Film & Kino.

”Hollywood blockbusters failed,” said managing director Lene Løken. ”Sex and the City 2, Shrek 4, Wall Street 2 – too many sequels do not lure audiences into the cinema. Even the new Harry Potter film did not work as well as we had hoped for.”

Only two releases exceeded 400,000 admissions, James Camaron’s Avatar (about 530,000 for 20th Century Fox), and Norwegian director Martin Lund’s Twigson Ties the Knot (Knerten gifter seg/about 402,000 for Scanbox). Another two local titles, André Øvredal’s Troll Hunter (Trolljegeren) and Erik Skjoldbjærg’s Nokas qualified for the list of Top 10 Films.

For the first time in Finland, domestic productions attracted over two million audiences (app 2,015.000), more than doubling the 2009 result and crushing the 1978 all-time best of 1,790,000. 23 titles, including nine documentaries, contributed to the record 27% local market share, according to early figures from the Finnish Film Foundation.

Finnish movies came in No 1 and 2 on the charts, surpassing top US entry, Sex and the City 2. They were Mari Rantasila’s family film, Ricky Rapper and the Bicycle Thief (Risto Räppääjä ja polkupyörävaras/about 328,000 admissions), and Dome Karukoski’s comedy, Lapland Odyssey (Napapiirin sankarit/about 335.000) [pictured]. In total the cinemas sold 7.3 million tickets, or 8% more than in 2009.

“One reason for the successful Finnish performance is the rich diversity in production, with various films for various audiences; the other is the digitisation of the theatres – now small venues can profit from the hype around local premieres,” explained managing director Irina Krohn, of the Finnish Film Foundations.