Danish company eyes big budget films with purchase

Danish company Nordisk Film has bought 50% of the shares in competing production company Zentropa. The aim is to secure the future of Zentropa and to make sure the bigger-budget films the company has in development will be made.

“We are more ambitious than our money can cover,” said Zentropa CEO Peter Aalbaeck Jensen.

Nordisk Film and Zentropa are among the most influential production companies in Scandinavia, with Nordisk also having an extensive distribution presence in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland.

Just a few weeks ago, it was announced that Nordisk Film Sales and Zentropa’s sales org Trust Film Sales would begin cooperating, beginning at this year’s Berlinale.

Zentropa, which was founded in 1992 by Peter Aalbaeck Jensen and Lars von Trier, has produced a string of bigger-budget productions. They have not always been commercial hits.

“A lot of the films we make cost around E10 million ($14.5 million). How could I say to Susanne Bier that you have to wait for two years to make your new film, since Lars von Trier will be shooting ‘Antichrist’ this year, and we cannot afford more? This way, we will have money to make our big-budgeted films,” said Aalbaeck Jensen.

He would not disclose the sum that Nordisk has paid: “It is less than we had deserved and more than we had hoped for.”

Aalbaeck Jensen will continue as CEO and said that Nordisk will continue to do business as usual. Of the remaining 50% of Zentropa, Aalbaeck Jensen and von Trier own 12.5% each. The remaining 25% is owned by 110 employees in the company, including helmers like Bier and Per Fly.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more