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Denmark: In-between pics suffer

AFM Territory Report

The Danish market is polarizing, with blockbusters increasing their dominance and indie titles getting squeezed.

“The big titles are getting bigger, and the midsize and smaller films are getting smaller,” says Frederik Juul, head of distribution at Sandrew Metronome.

Ten years ago, he says, an indie film that could expect to open with 40,000 admissions now is more likely to attract 10,000.

Scanbox acquisitions exec Lorianne Hall says that films have to be carefully targeted. “Solid arthouse films (and blockbusters) are doing well. But it is the films in between that seem to get lost — films that are intelligent but are not huge studio movies and not a specific niche arthouse movie. They really have to fit into a genre nowadays. There has to be a really easy way to market it.”

She points to the lack of available screens, in particular 3D screens, and the lengthy release windows — four months for foreign titles and six months for local films — as challenges for indie films in Denmark. “Street Dance 3D” had to go direct to VOD and DVD because of the lack of 3D screens.

Local family films attracted good returns: Scanbox scored a hit with Claus Bjerre’s comedy “Father of Four — In Japanese Mode,” which took $4.5 million, and Nordisk Film’s coming-of-ager “Karla and Jonas” took $1.4 million.

Nordisk led the field for foreign indie fare with “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” nabbing $4.2 million, and “An Education,” which was helmed by Danish director Lone Scherfig, nabbing $2.1 million.

Danish pics perfed well for Nordisk, with Susanne Bier’s “In a Better World” garnering $4 million and counting, Kenneth Kainz’s “Parterapi” grabbing $1.9 million, and Afghan War docu “Armadillo” taking $1.5 million.

Sandrew Metronome’s top films were both Danish: Thomas Vinterberg’s “Submarino,” which took $528,400, and “Hold Me Tight,” which is on $488,000, and is still in theaters. However, its owner Schibsted has put the company up for sale, and Sandrew Metronome has acquired no new indie films for next year.

Highlights

Top 2010 indie film: “Father of Four — In Japanese Mode,” $4.5 million (Scanbox)

Recent pickups (pan-Scandinavia): “The Impossible,” Nordisk; “Dream House,” Nordisk; “Dredd,” Svensk; “The Three Musketeers 3-D,” Svensk; “Scream 4,” Scanbox; “The Way Back,” Scanbox

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