HAUGESUND, Norway –Buena Vista Intl. (BVI) will open an office in Oslo on Dec. 1, it was announced at the Norwegian Intl. Film Festival in Haugesund.
Walt Disney product has been channeled into the Norwegian market through Kommunenes Filmcentral (KF) since 1991.
Inger Warendorph, KF sales manager for the last 14 years, will take over as general manager of the Norwegian Disney operation, with Henning Lindblad as marketing director. Lindblad comes from Disney’s Scandinavian headquarters in Stockholm, which is headed by Eric Broberg.
“The new company will be a subsidiary of BVI Stockholm. We have yet to find premises, and a couple of assistants. But the decision to leave KF is so new that we have had no time to think about practical details,” Warendorph said.
The first releases from BVI’s Norwegian branch will be “102 Dalmatians,” the sequel to the live-action hit “101 Dalmatians,” starring Glenn Close and Gerard Depardieu, and the Bruce Willis starrer “Unbreakable,” both scheduled for a Dec. 26 opening.
Twentieth Century Fox abandoned KF on Aug. 1 to set up Fox Norway and reside with SF Norge, a subsidiary of Sweden’s Svensk Filmindustri, which is a Fox collaborator in Sweden and Finland. The last month or so has seen KF lose more than 95% of its revenue.
Owned by 41 Norwegian municipalities, which established the company in 1919 to secure U.S. product in case of a conflict between municipal and privately owned cinemas, KF was Norway’s market leader in 1999, accounting for 26% of box office receipts. “We are currently investigating whether KF will be able to survive on a smaller scale, without Disney and Fox,” said KF chairman of the board Hans Svelland.