In spite of the release of 36 new Swedish features in 2006, local productions sold only 3m cinema tickets - down 300,000 (9%) from 2005 - to control 20% of the theatrical market, against 22.6% the previous year, according to preliminary statistics from the Swedish Film Institute.

International blockbusters, led by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (selling 1.1m tickets), Casino Royale (653,000) and The Da Vinci Code (652,000), were credited for the 5% growth of cinema attendance, which reached 15.3m admissions compared with 14.6m the previous year.

Better performance of domestic fare has become top priority with new managing director Cissi Elwin, of the Swedish Film Institute, who has named producer Charlotta Edward head of a Production Support Department, with the brief of improving the institute's backing of new films.

By funding each project by an average of 40% instead of 25%, the annual number of productions is likely to be reduced to 20. Elwin wants to provide more funding for development and new competence in finance, budgeting and marketing to assure the quality of the product.

Best local performers in 2006 included Colin Nutley's Heartbreak Hotel (Sweetwater, Svensk Filmindustri/462,000 tickets), Harald Hamrell's Beck-The Scorpion (FilmLance International, Nordisk Film Production/285,000) and Marten Klingberg's Offside (Gotafilm/249,000).