AMSTERDAM — Sweden’s No. 2 cinema builder Sandrews has forged a new alliance with Norwegian media giant Schibsted in what could lead to the first truly pan-Nordic exhibition partnership.
Under the banner of the Sandrew Metronome Theatres, Sandrews and Schibsted will build a $3.5 million, 1,900-seat 10-plex in downtown Helsinki as the first thrust of the new alliance. The Finnish KinoPalatsi will be built by KinoPalatsi Sandrew Metronome, a Sandrew Metronome partnership with Finnish film veteran Jukka Vilhunen and producer, director and cinema owner Claes Olosson.
Sandrews and Schibsted have been partners in the Sandrew Metronome acquisition alliance for more than five years, and both hinted strongly they’d like to cuddle up a little closer in the area of theater building following Schibsted’s takeover of the Metronome film holdings, which included some exhibition, in Denmark last November.
Schibsted’s Jan Erik Knarbakk, director of film and TV, told Daily Variety at that time it was in talks with Sandrews on a possible partnership in helping run the Danish cinemas. Sandrews had more than seven decades of experience and Schibsted had none, Knarbakk pointed out at the time.
Sandrews has 104 screens in 21 cities and takes a 25% of the total market in Sweden and a 40% share in the major cities of Stockholm, Gothenberg and Malmo. The Sandrew Metronome Theatres pact is likely to include further expansion into Norway, Schibsted’s home base, where multiplex building is in its infancy.
The new partnership will also renovate the two-screen, 700-seat Maxim, now owned by Finnkino, for a December 1997 bow. Olofsson is also not ruling out a possible production alliance with Schibsted, pooling Sandrews film-making experience with the television programming talents of Schibsted’s string of more than a dozen TV production companies scattered across Scandinavia.