Following its latest triumph at Spain's Peniscola international comedy film festival, Norway's Maipo Film is preparing two further films based on the Elling franchise, now that the comedy has become one of the most successful Norwegian films ever.

Theatre director Peter Naess' second big screen effort Elling became the biggest local film success in recent history with over 700,000 admissions in Norway last year, beating all US competition.

An Academy Award nomination created further exposure for the $1.6m comedy, which was swiftly acquired by US distributor First Look Pictures. Elling has also seen box office success abroad: 250,000 admissions so far in three weeks in Germany; 100,000 in Switzerland and 100,000 in Sweden,

Handled internationally by Zentropa's sales outfit Trust Film Sales, the film is still to open a number of major territories including US, France, Spain, Italy and Turkey.

Norwegian author Ingvar Ambjornsen has written four novels about the character, but soon after the film had a become a major local hit, the author said that he would never allow any sequels to be made, rejecting the idea as "very American". The foreign success, however, has prompted Ambjornsen to change his mind and he has now announced that he has allowed Maipo Film to adapt a further two of his Elling books to the big screen.

While Elling was based on the third book in the series, the second film will be a prequel based on the first two books telling the story of Elling before his mother died. The third film will be based on Ambjornsen's fourth book about the title character.

In addition, Joni Sighvatsson's Palomar Pictures is developing an English-language US remake of the film with Kevin Spacey's Trigger Street Productions.