'Everything has an end, and the competition in the quality film market has become increasingly complicated,' explained Triangelfilm/Astoria Cinemas CEO, Mattias Nohrborg. 'Furthermore, a few years ago we have made some strategically wrong decisions, and a couple of of our major projects did not come out as expected.'
Nohrborg founded Triangelfilm in 1988 with Bjorn Ringdahl, and they have since released 550 features, including 50 domestic productions, focusing on quality fare. Their first breaks were Kusturica's The Time of the Gypsies, Kieslowski's Three Colours, followed by the Danish Dogme films; recently they scored from Andersson's Songs from the Second Floor, Jeunet's Amelie, and Polanski's The Pianist.
In 2005 Triangelfilm orchestrated the purchase of Sandrew Metronome's Swedish circuit of 88 screens, taking a 19.4% stake in the operation renamed Astoria Cinemas. In financial difficulties since the launch, the company was saved from bankruptcy by arch rival, Swedish market leader, SF Bio, which last autumn took over all Astoria theatres outside the key cities of Stockholm, Goteborg and Malmo.
After a majority of creditors agreed to write off 75% of its $8.9 million debts, Astoria Cinemas was further stripped of screens om May 11 as SF Bio purchased its Biopalatset mutiplexes in Stockholm and Göteborg. As part of the deal Astoria will programme four auditoria at SF Bio theatres in Lund, Uppsala and five in Goteborg (from Aug 31), now left with a total of 25 screens - but 'practically no debts', per Nohrborg.