While Danish cinema is shining at the Academy Awards with Martin Zandvliet’s “Land of Mine” up for a foreign-language Oscar, the local box office for Danish movies hit a low of 2.8 million ticket sales in 2016, a 33% year-on-year drop, according to the Danish Film Institute.
The market share for local movies last year dropped to 21%, compared with 30% share in 2015. Hans Petter Moland’s thriller “A Conspiracy of Faith” (704,971 admissions) and Birger Larsen’s comedy “The Reunion 3” (538,506 admissions) took the top two slots, respectively, of the chart, ahead of Hollywood blockbusters such as “The Revenant,” “Zootopia,” “Rogue One” and “Deadpool.”
The third highest-grossing Danish film is Thomas Vinterberg’s drama “The Commune,” which premiered at Berlin and earned Trine Dyrholm the best actress award. “The Commune” and “A Conspiracy of Faith” are the only Danish movies ranking in the top 10 which have had a high-profile international run.
“A Conspiracy of Faith,” the third opus in the “Department Q” trilogy, was sold by TrustNordisk around the world, including in the U.S., where it was released by IFC Films along with the other two installments.
Henrik Bo Nielsen, head of the Danish Film Institute, said the overall performance of Danish films in 2016 was “decent” but “disappointing.”
“We’ve been used to expect to land at the high end of the European market shares. It’s frustrating whenever a film doesn’t reach its audience, and this seems to be increasingly difficult for the smaller films, an effect of the market that we’ll be scrutinizing more closely in the near future,” said Nielsen.
Nielson pointed to various initiatives launched by the Danish Film Institute last year to “develop new content, new talents and new partnerships.”
Claus Ladegaard, head of film funding for the institute, said the drop in attendance for domestic films in 2016 reflects the fact that Denmark produces few films a year and therefore the market share is quite vulnerable. Ladegaard also said the weaker market share was due to a large number of “experienced Danish directors who are currently working in the States.”
“Land of Mine” director Martin Zandvliet, for instance, recently wrapped “The Outsider” with actor Jared Leto. Netflix picked up the film at the AFM. Among the other high-profile Danish helmers, Nicolas Winding Refn (“Neon Demon”) is getting ready to shoot a series in Los Angeles and Tobias Lindholm (“A War”) has a project set up in the U.S. as well.