Three months after Sweden's Queen Silvia inaugurated Filmstaden Bergakungen - SF Bio's new $35.3 million (Euros 26.9m) multiplex with 2,260 seats in Goteborg, the country's second-largest city - Sweden's number-one exhibitor has registered a 42% increase in local cinema attendance.

Already operating Filmstaden DownTown (eight auditoria) and Palladium (one), adding Bergakungen's 14 on Nov 18, 2006, SF Bio has since reached 250,000 admissions in Goteborg, with the newcomer accounting for approximately 70%, compared to 384,000 during the same period in 2006.

The Bergakungen project was instigated almost 20 years ago by producer-distributor Conny Planborg. In 2001 it was taken over by SF Bio, which started the construction in 2004. The two main auditoria, each seating 419 people, are equipped with Sweden's largest screens, which are 18 metres wide.

In these cinemas, for 20% more than the regular ticket price, audiences can buy extra-comfortable chairs and more legroom - 'and they are always the first to sell,' explained SF Bio head of information and PR, Thomas Runfors. The theatre also has a VIP screening room with leather furniture and an adjacent lounge with free popcorn and soft drinks, which has been fully booked.

'We programme a broad mix of blockbusters, mainstream and arthouse, with Casino Royale and a local comedy, Gota Kanal 2, among our biggest successes so far. But also smaller films, such as Little Miss Sunshine and the Australian Jindabyne, have grossed well,' added Runfors.

During the Christmas 2006 holiday, the Bergakungen was Sweden's mostly frequented cinema, selling 87,000 tickets, contributing to a 18.7% growth of December admissions for the whole of Goteborg, where the main competitor is Astoria Cinemas with Biopalatset (10 auditoria) and Palladium (one).

A part of the Bonnier Entertainment group with Swedish major, Svensk Filmindustri, SF Bio has started a new conference and events business in the theatre, which comprises restaurant, cafe and bar. During the recent Goteborg International Film Festival, several auditoria were screening festival films.