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‘Venus’ heats up Finnish box office

Pic outdid 'Narnia's' B.O. by 11%

While U.S. blockbusters like “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and “King Kong” dominate box offices throughout Scandinavia, Finnish romantic soccer comedy “FC Venus” was the most watched film in Finland last weekend.

Pic, which opened Dec. 30, outdid “Narnia’s” B.O. by 11% and “King Kong’s” by 205% — with substantially fewer prints.

“FC Venus” earned $340,000 with 40 prints last weekend, compared with “Narnia’s” $306,000 with 55 prints. The screen average for the Finnish pic was 888 visitors, while “Narnia” attracted 572 ticket buyers per screen.

The success of helmer Joona Tena’s “FC Venus” is yet another step forward for Finland’s biggest production company, MRP Matila Rohr Prods. Currently, MRP has three films on the country’s top 10 list: “FC Venus,” “Promise” and foreign-language Oscar contender “Mother of Mine.” The three pics have to date earned approximately $3 million at the box office.

In a deal struck at last year’s Berlin Film Festival, German Wuste Filmproduktion bought the remake rights for “FC Venus” and is finishing up its own version for the German market.

In October, Scandi major Nordisk Film joined forces with MRP with the acquisition of 20% of the company. Peter Philipsen, managing director of Nordisk Film Distribution, says the B.O. success of MRP’s films emphasizes the importance of local product on the market.

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