Nordisk Film & TV Fond publishes Nordic Cinema Admission Report


A Man Called Ove, En man som heter Ove / PHOTO: Nordisk Film Distribusjon

The report ‘Nordic Cinema Admissions 2014-2018’ was commissioned to evaluate Nordic films’ ability to cross borders, and the impact of the Fund’s support.

Through the data collected and analysed by Petri Peltonen, statistics and research specialist at the Finnish Film Foundation, the study offers a snapshot of the results of Nordic films on a national and Nordic level, the types of films that cross borders, those supported by the Fund and the correlation between the Fund’s support and trans-national distribution.

A special emphasis is given to documentaries and children and youth films, as those are priorities for the Fund.

Nordisk Film & TV Fond CEO Petri Kemppinen has also outlined the Fund’s distribution support and objectives, and identified some distribution trends.    

Here under are some of the key findings: 

  • Rise in revenues
    Between 2014-2018, gross B.O. increased by 5% across the Nordics. Sweden was the only territory with lower film revenues in 2018 compared to 2013, but even in the largest Nordic territory, cinema-going fluctuated year on year, often linked to the success of local films. 
  • National and Nordic films market shares
    Between 2014-2018, Finland had the largest market share for local films (average of 27.3%), followed by Denmark (25.6%), Norway (22.6%), Sweden (19.1%) and Iceland (8.4%), although the smallest Nordic nation has enjoyed a continues growth since 2015. Norwegians are the biggest fans of Nordic (non-Norwegian) fare that accounted for 2.5% of the Norwegian market, whereas Swedes and Icelanders are the least receptive (1.5% market share for Nordic films). 
  • More films with mid-size attendance outside home territory
    Compared to the period 2009-2013 analysed in a previous report "Nordic Film Crossing Borders" commissioned by the Fund, more films achieved admissions ranging from 20,000-100,000 (25 for 2009-2013 vs 36 for 2014-2018), while films reaching 100,000+ remained stable. In the higher end, films with 200,000+ admissions that were also released outside the domestic market, increased slightly from 38 to 42 in the current period.
  •  Swedish films rule in the Nordics
    With nearly 2.3 million admissions, Swedish films attracted the largest audience outside the national territory. Finnish films came second (880,000) thanks mostly to the animated film Angry Birds, top selling Nordic film in the Nordics. Norwegian films sold 670,000 tickets, Danish films 640,000 and Icelandic films 220,000. 
  • Comedies, dramas, kids movies among favourite genres
    Dramas and comedies dominated the local charts, with children and youth films accounting for more than 15% of admissions. Across the borders, different films but within similar genres were the most popular. Thriller and crime however dropped out of favour compared to 2009-2013, with the audience most probably shifting to TV series. 
  •  Well-known IPs, animation, name directors cross borders
    The biggest grossing films in the Nordics outside national borders, were either based on popular mobile games (Angry Birds), books (such as A Man Called Ove, The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared) or TV series (Sunny Side/Solsidan-The Movie).

    Animated films were other major hits (including The Incredible Story of a Giant, In the Forest of Huckybucky) as well as films by established auteurs such as Per Fly's Waltz for Monica, Erik Poppe's The King's Choice, Ruben Östlund's The Square and Force Majeure, and Dagur Kári's Virgin Mountain

    New directors that crossed borders include Amanda Kernell with Sami Blood, Grímur Hákonarson wih Rams, Benedikt Erlingsson with Of Horses and Men and Ali Abbasi with The Border. 
  • Larger Nordic audiences for documentaries
    Nordic documentaries improved drastically their audience outside national borders with 160,000 admissions between 2009-2013 compared to 250,000 between 2014-2018. Overall admissions also increased from 2.1 million to 2.4 million, thanks to docu biopics of celebrities such as Ingrid Bergman-In Her Own Words or Marcus & Martinus about the famous Norwegian pop band (12th biggest Nordic film outside its home country). 
  • Impact of the support from Nordisk Film & TV Fond
    Nordisk Film & TV Fond provided funding to nearly 190 films released between 2014-2018 that sold 30.1 million tickets (nearly half of all tickets for Nordic films); 18 out of the top 20 Nordic films were backed by the Fund.

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond also accounted for 80% of admissions of Nordic films that crossed borders, 97% of the Norwegian and Icelandic films shown outside their home territory were backed by the Fund and 90% of Swedish films.

    The Fund also allocated distribution support to 200 Nordic films.

    Within children & youth films, the Fund backed 61% of the titles that crossed borders, for an audience share of 53% (a share that rose to 85% if we exclude Angry Birds).

    In the documentary genre, the Fund supported 36 documentaries that opened theatrically for a total audience of 1.1 million. Twenty-two films accounting for nearly 90% of the audience of documentaries outside national borders. 

DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT CLICK HERE: Nordic Cinema Admissions 2014-2018 Report


Four questions to Petri Kemppinen, CEO at Nordisk Film & TV Fond

What were the findings that surprised you most and those that confirmed your assumptions?
PK: The very positive surprise was the increased number of what we call the mid-size films and their cross-border performance. The fact that animated films travel rather well was confirmed by the numbers. It was not a big surprise to see that crime and Nordic noir films travel less than before, probably because the small screen has clearly taken over.

More films sold between 20,000-100,000 across the region, whereas local blockbusters seem to have had less success in finding audiences outside their home country. What are your views on this particular point?
PK: Big pan-Nordic distributors Nordisk Film and SF Studios have clearly become much more hesitant in releasing their local blockbusters in cinemas outside the domestic market. The smaller local distributors release the mid-size films more actively, and there are cases where they have had a better hunch of the market potential of a film than the big players.


Nordisk Film & TV Fond publishes Nordic Cinema Admission Report

Petri Kemppinen / PHOTO: Nordisk Film & TV Fond, Birgit Solhaug

What are the main conclusions that you can draw from this report?
PK: We have been flagging the need for bigger films to cross borders for several years, but actually some of the big titles have remained only local successes. If this is satisfying enough for the producers and distributors it is a disappointment from our perspective. At the same time the mid-size films attract non-national audiences, so there still seems to be an appetite to watch diverse quality films in cinemas, which can be flagged, from cultural and development of the medium perspective, even if means smaller business.   

Going forward, what will be the next steps for the Fund?
PK: We've been through two rounds of Nordic Distribution Boost and the first films that went through those workshops (A White White Day, Disco, Valhalla, My Life as a Comedian, Beware of Children) are premiering this autumn. It is a good checkpoint for the Fund to see how to develop the upcoming Boost in 2020.

NB: Correction: The text of this article has been corrected on 26/9 at 11:34. There was wrong domestic market share (25.5%) for Swedish Films in 2014-2018. The figure is corrected in the downloadable report.