'Winter War' holds decade-old record

COPENHAGEN — After five weeks on the top of the Finnish charts, selling in excess of 420,000 tickets, Finnish director Aleksi Makela’s “Bad Boys — A True Story” is set to challenge the more than 10-year-old attendance record for local films: 645,000 admissions for “The Winter War.”

Released on 50 prints by Buena Vista Intl., the Solar Films production depicts the real-life story of the four Koistinen brothers, nicknamed the Eura Daltons, who were convicted of more than 100 thefts and robberies.

“Solar Films staged an extremely efficient crossover marketing campaign with Expert electronics, beginning six months before the premiere, and made extensive use of the musical score by Finnish bands, which has been the No. 1 CD for the last three weeks,” said sales manager Pekka Lehesmaa of Finnish BVI. “Most important, however, is that people just love the film.”

‘Lordly’ accomplishment

With a Finnish cast of Peter Franzen, Lauri Nurkse, Niko Saarela, Jasper Paakkonen as the brothers, and local screen legend Vesa-Matti Loiri as their evil father, “Bad Boys” surpassed 300,000 viewers in its third week, an achievement matched only by the two installments of “The Lord of the Rings.”

Solar Films’ producer Markus Selin and Makela got the idea for the feature when they read about the Koistinens in a newspaper article. Their last film together, “The Tough Ones,” drew 330,000 admissions in 1999 and was Finland’s submission for the Oscars.

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