Norwegian cinema directors threatened to boycott comedy ahead of a planned VOD world premiere.

Plans to debut Ole Endresen’s Chasing Berlusconi (Jakten på Berlusconi) on VOD have been scrapped after Norwegian cinema directors declared they would boycott showing the film.

The horseracing comedy was set to become the first film to receive a VOD premiere ahead of a theatrical release and was set to be made available on TV2’s Sumo platform for 48 hours from Sept 5, ahead of its wide release this Friday (Sept 12).

The move had previously been approved by Norway’s largest circuit, Oslo Cinemas.

But following pressure from Norwegian cinema directors, Skistad and Sumo managing director Trond Kvernstrøm decided to cancel the plans.

“We wanted to try something new, but from the reaction this is obviously not possible,” said Kvernstrøm.

“Every year TV2 pays a lot of money for airing local films, but programming a new film two years after it has opened in the theatres does not really work any more. We must now consider whether we should continue financing Norwegian cinema,” he added.

A Håkon Øverås production for 4½ Fiksjon, Chasing Berlusconi stars Edward Schultheiss as a chubby harness driver who is forced to adopt a life of crime to keep menacing creditors at bay.

The comedy has been selected to screen at the BFI London International Film Festival (Oct 8-19).