Admissions for local films in Norway look set to reach record levels in 2008.
Norwegian theatres have already seen two million admissions for domestic titles, and at least one potential blockbuster, Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg's World War II epic, Max Manus, is still to launch.
Putting the figures in context, Birgitte Langballe, of Norwegian cinema association, Film & Kino said:' By mid-October we had already passed 2007's total of 1.7 million, and we have now reached two million for the first time since 2003. So we are looking at the best result for Norwegian films since 1976.'
The two million figure was reached on November 1 on Great Cinema Day, organised by Film & Kino. Film & Kino's managing director Lene Loken, attributed the strong local performance to,' the combination of strong audience attractions and a great variety of repertoire has had its effect at the box office.'
But she went on to point out that other factors were also in play,
'Quality wise Norwegian films have radically improved. Now 10 years old the Norwegian film school is making its mark; a new generation of filmmakers have emerged, while the veterans are still active; and public funding has been increased, to secure 25 features annually and a 25% local market share,' Loken concluded.
Three local productions have qualified for the 2008 top ten, including Nils Gaup's The Kautokeino Rebellion (336,837), Harald Zwart's Long Flat Balls II (293,057), and Mats Stenberg's Cold Prey II (242,146, after less than month in general release).
Overall admissions for 2008 are also strong, reaching 7.5 million by October 1. International releases have played a strong role in this; UIP's Mamma Mia! The Movie has exceeded 1.1 million tickets, Norway's best figure since Titanic's 1.4 million in 1998. A further six Hollywood films have also passed 250,000 admissions.