Slower Box Office Film Year Across the Nordics, Checked by Few Domestic Hits

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ battles local films for top positions


Last year, Finland’s “The Unknown Soldier,” Sweden’s “Solsidan,” and the Icelandic duo of  “I Remember You” and “Under the Tree” boosted their domestic territories’ hauls, unlike in Denmark and Norway where the lack of local and U.S. blockbusters sparked lacklustre end-of-year results. A drill-down on results:


2017 will go down as the year of Aku Louhimies’ war film “The Unknown Soldier.” Produced to coincide with the country’s celebration of the centenary of its independence, the Finnish film pulled in more than 10% of the total admissions, despite a late October release. The drama, based on Väino Linna’s literary gem, grossed €13.1 million ($16.2 million), nearly three times the results of the No. 2 title, Disney’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”.

According to preliminary estimates from the Finnish Film Foundation, “The Unknown Soldier” largely contributed to the 9 million general admissions (up 3.4% from 2016), a level not seen since 1983. Film revenues also peaked at €100 million ($124 million), up 9% vs. 2016.

Louhimies’ film and two other local titles in the Top 10 – the comedy sequel “Lapland Odyssey 3” and children’s franchise “Jill, Joy & the Mysterious Stranger” – contributed to the 27% domestic market share, slightly down from 29% in 2016. Tickets for home-grown films reached 2.4 million, making it the sixth consecutive year that Finnish fare passed the 2 million barrier.
Released mid-December, Disney’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” was still the second biggest-grosser of the year with more than $5.8 million, followed by “Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge” with $4.5 million.
Tero Koistinen, head of the Finnish cinema association Filmikamari celebrated the 35-year record high admissions, seven local films in the Top 30 and strong performance of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” that sold 359,221 tickets in two weeks. He also welcomed the plans for several new cinema projects for 2018-2019 in cities including Helsinki, Kotka, Seinäjoki and Turku.


Films, (Nationality) Box office, Admissions, Distributors, Release Date

1. The Unknown Soldier: (FI), €13,100,000 ($16,243,267), 923,922, SF Studios, 27.10.17

2. Star Wars: The Last Jedi: (US), €4,700,000 ($5,827,737), 359,221, Walt Disney, 13.12.17

3. Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge: (US), €3,700,000 ($4,587,793), 307,688, Walt Disney, 25.05.17

4. Despicable Me: (US), €3,400,000 ($4,215.423), 333,335, Finnkino, 30.06.17

5. Lapland Odyssey 3: (FI), €3,000,000 ($3,719,422), 270,469, Nordisk Film, 23.08.17

6. Beauty & the Beast: (US),     €2,900,000 ($3,595,441), 259,684, Walt Disney, 17.03.17

7. La La Land: (US), €2,900,000 ($3,595,441), 259,112,     Nordisk Film, 13.01.17

8. It: (US), €2,200,000 ($2,727,712), 182,904, SF Studios, 08.09.17

9. Fast & Furious 8: (US), €2,100,000 ($2,603,392), 179,848, Finnkino, 12.04.17

10. Jill, Joy & the Mysterious Stranger: (FI), €2,000,000 ($2,479,421), 214,510, Nordisk Film,  27.01.17

Source: (Preliminary Figures, Finnish Film Foundation


After a record 2016 with 13.1 million admissions, last year’s haul came back to “normal levels,” according to the Norwegian cinema association Film & Kino, reaching 11.7 million, down 10.3%. B.O returns dropped by 8.3% to NOK1,260,894,233 ($163.7 million). Norwegian films’ market share dropped from the record 23.9% in 2016 to 18% last year, with 2.1 million admissions.

For Guttorm Petterson, head of Film & Kino, the fall in cinema attendance was due predominantly to the absence of local mega-hits, such as Erik Poppe’s historical drama “The King’s Choice” (714,000 admissions in 2016), or Roar Uthaug’s catastrophe drama “The Wave”, 833,000 admissions in 2015).

Three Hollywood films took the top three spots: “Star Wars: the Last Jedi”, “Beauty and the Beast” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge”-although they did not make blockbuster numbers above 410,000 admissions.

Last year’s most popular Norwegian film was the family adventure “The Ash Lad: In the Hall of the Mountain King”, based on old Norse folk tales. Released on Christmas Day, Harald Zwart’s war epic “The 12th Man” managed to take the second spot IN the Top 10 Norwegian films, followed by the stop-motion animated “In the Forest of Huckybucky”, which sold an extra 209,006 tickets in 2017 on top of the 354,000 in 2016. Among auteur films and festival favorites, Iram Haq’s “What Will People Say” was a surprise hit with 107,908 admissions.“Marcus & Martinus-Together,” a documentary about the local teen pop idols, was the fourth best-selling Norwegian film.


Films, (Nationality) Box office, Admissions, Distributors, Release Date

1. Star Wars-The Last Jedi: (US), NOK 50,904,996 ($6,505,904), 401,785, Walt Disney     , 13.12.17

2. Beauty & the Beast: (US),     NOK 39,950,730 ($5,105,896), 349,392, Walt Disney, 17.03.17

3. Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge: (US), NOK 37,118,134 ($4,744,239), 316,113, Walt Disney    , 24.05.17

4. The Ash Lad: In the Hall of Mountain King: (NO), NOK 34,720,780 ($4,438,227), 354,196, Nordisk Film, 29.09.17

5. Fast & Furious 8: (US), NOK 33,514,201 ($4,284,457), 285,088, UIP, 12.04.17

6. Despicable Me 3: (US), NOK 33,379,740 ($4,266,373), 322,628, UIP, 30.06.17

7. Fifty Shades Darker: (US), NOK 29,573,152 ($3,780,831), 245,449, UIP, 10.02.17

8. Moana: (US), NOK 29,501,462 ($3,770,717), 298,201, Walt Disney, 03.02.17

9. It: (US), NOK 28,627,274 ($3,659,079), 240,051, SF Norge, 08.09.17

10. The Boss Baby: (US), NOK 27,572,346 ($3,524,850), 278,181, 20th Century Fox, 07.04.17

Source: (Film Distributors’ Association)

In a stable film year, Icelandic films soared and claimed 11.22% of the total box office, against 6.6% in 2016.
For the first time since records began in 1995, two local films were the biggest hits of the year. Óskar Thór Axelsson’s thriller “I Remember You,” based on Yrsa Sigurardóttir’s best-selling eponymous novel, ruled at No. 1 with over $750,000, followed by the award-winning black comedy “Under the Tree,” by Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson which grossed more than $667,000. Another festival darling, Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson’s coming of age “Heartstone“ performed well, ranking eleventh.

Hallgrimur Kristinsson, head of the cinema association Frisk, stressed that over the last four years, local films have triumphed three times at the top of the Icelandic charts, a ‘particularly positive’ sign for the small Icelandic film industry. 17 new films premiered in the cinemas, compared to 15 the previous year.
U.S. films accounted for 85% of the market, slightly down from the record 90% of 2016, and all but three films in the Top 20 were U,S. studio-produced. Walt Disney – repped by Samfilm in Iceland- enjoyed a strong year with four films ranked Nos. 3 to 6, including the champion “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” the biggest U.S. film of the year, with around $665,000 and 50,645 admissions.
Overall box office remained solid at over $16.6 million, while cinema admissions dropped by 3.4% to 1,4 million, according to Frisk. Icelanders remain the biggest cinemagoers in Europe, with an average four visits a year per capita.


Films, (Nationality) Box office, Admissions, Distributors, Release Date

1. I Remember You: (IS), Kr 76,591,704 ($754,659), 47,368, Sena, 05.05.17

2.Under the Tree*: (IS), Kr 67,736,250 ($667.403), 42,427, Sena, 06.09.17

3. Star Wars: The Last Jedi*: (US), Kr 67,546,351 ($665,532), 50,645, Samfilm, 14.12.17

4. Thor: Ragnarok*: (US), Kr49,740,365 ($490,098), 38,039, Samfilm, 27.10.17

5. Guardians of the Galaxy – Vol. 2: (US), Kr 48,257,615 ($475,489), 36,961, Samfilm, 28.04.17

6. Beauty and the Beast: (US), Kr 47,232,358 ($465,390), 38,552, Samfilm, 17.03.17

7. Despicable Me 3: (US), Kr 46,971,174 ($462,816), 44,009, Myndform, 05.07.17

8. Fast and Furious 8: (US), Kr 36,608,463 ($360,710),

29,256, Mydform, 12.04.17

9. Dunkirk: (UK/NL/FR/US), Kr 35,975,196 ($354,492), 28,074, Samfilm, 19.07.17

10. Spider-man: Homecoming: (US), Kr 35,375,104 ($348,567), 27,250, Sena, 05.07.17

*Still on general release

Source: (Frisk)

For the second consecutive year, Danes neglected home-grown films. Both general admissions and box office returns dropped by 4.5% to 12.4 million and around DKK1.bl ($180 million) respectively, according to the trade body FAFID and the Danish Film Institute.
With 2.5 million tickets sold, Danish films had a 20% market share, on par with 2016 (21%) but below the average 26% of the last decade, partly due to the lack of single locomotives, such as 2016’s hits,  Department Q’s “A Conspiracy of Faith” (687,842 admissions) and the comedy “The Reunion 3” (524,599).

In comparison, last year’s biggest local hits and only Danish titles in the Top 10, fared at a lower level: Rasmus Heide’s comedy “Three Heists and a Hamster/All for Three” sold 325,000 tickets and Ole Bornedal’s “Small Time Killers” 256,000.

Claus Ladegaard, CEO at the Danish Film Institute, admitted that in 2017, more Danish films had a hard time securing an audience, but also noted the solid performances of the thriller “Darkland”, animated film “The Incredible Story of the Giant Pear” and Danish Oscar entry “You Disappear” that managed to combine “artistic ambitions with a good audience”.

For him, talent drain to Hollywood and TV drama of a few star directors [such as Susanne Bier] is a major concern, which has prompted the Institute to support new talents. The initiative has started bearing fruits as Christian Tafdrup’s second film “A Terrible Woman” and Mehdi Avaz’s debut ” While We Live,” both produced for less than $500,000, attracted more than 140,000 and 100,000 people respectively.

The top four best-sellers of 2017 were Hollywood’s:  “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” which grossed $9.7 million in only two weeks; “Beauty and the Beast” ($6 million); “Despicable Me 3” ($5.4 million); and “Fifty Shades Darker” ($5.1 million).


Films, (Nationality) Box office, Admissions, Distributors, Release Date

1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi: (US), DK57,886,904 ($9,708,046), 478,000, Walt Disney        , 13.12.17

2. Beauty and the Beast: (US), DKK 36,175,071 ($6,067,991), 398,000, Walt Disney, 16.03.17

3. Despicable Me 3: (US), DKK32,238,190 ($5,407,620), 384,000, UIP/Universal, 20.06.17

4. Fifty Shades Darker: (US), DKK30,945,747 ($5,190,826), 332,000, UIP/Universal, 09.02.17

5. Three Heists and a Hamster/All for 3: (DK), DKK29,350,632 ($4,924,045), 325,000, Nordisk Film, 02.02.17

6. Dunkirk: (UK/US/FR/NL), DKK28,862,961 ($4,843,338), 304,000, SF Studios/WB, 20.07.17

7. Fast and Furious 8: (US),     DKK27,991,015 ($4,697,022), 276,000, UIP/Universal, 13.04.17

8. Moana: (US), DKK25,200,074 ($4,228,162), 307,000, Walt Disney, 02.02.17

9. Boss Baby: (US), DKK22,038,595 ($3,698,557), 266,000, SF Studios/WB, 06.04.17

10. Small Time Killers: (DK), DKK 17,378,555 ($2,916,501), 256,000, Nordisk Film, 12.01.17

Source: (FAFID, Danish Film Institute)

In 2017 attendance remained stable at around 16.8 million, but homegrown films surged by more than 9% year on year to 2.9 million, boosted by “Solsidan-the Movie.” Total box office in Sweden came in at €201 million ($250 million).

Most remarkably, the two highest-grossing Swedish films of the year, and only local entries at the Top 10, were directed by two brothers, Felix Herngren and Måns Herngren. “Solsidan”, based on the eponymous TV series, posted a healthy $11 million for SF Studios and topped the 2017 admission chart with 784,121, despite its end-of-year release. Launched late 2016, the Herngren’s “The 101 Year Old Man Who Skipped Out On The Bill And Disappeared” still showed up at No. 9 in 2017 with $5.7 million, under Walt Disney’s care. Other local films that performed solidly are the comedy “All Inclusive” ($4.3 million), Toronto opener “Borg/McEnroe” ($3.7 million), animated “Bamse and the Witch’s Daughter” ($2.3 million), the sleeper drama “Sámi Blood” ($2.3 million) and Palme d’Or winner “The Square” ($2.4 million).
Thanks to the broad variety of genres, the Swedish share of the market climbed to 17.2% from the low 15% in 2016.

The top-selling Hollywood films were “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” ($13 million) “Beauty and the Beast ($8.2 million) and “It” ($7.9 million); Walt Disney scored with five films in the top Swedish chart.
Peter Fornstam, head of the cinema trade association Filmägarnas Kontrollbyrå, noted the “normal” cinema year and substantial boost from Swedish films. Looking ahead, he said he hoped for a revision from the government of its VAT increase on cinema tickets from 6% to the current 25%, which would provide smaller cinemas and vital cultural institutions a better chance to survive.


Films, (Nationality) Box office, Admissions, Distributors, Release Date

1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi: (US), SEK 102,270,338 ($12,972,286), 697,141, Walt Disney, 13.12.17

2. Solsidan-the Movie: (SE), SEK92,404,247 ($11,726,430), 784,121, SF Studios, 01.12.17

3. Beauty and the Beast: (US), SEK 65,298,774 ($8,285,597), 524,111, Walt Disney, 17.03.17

4. IT: (US), SEK 62,836,348 ($7,972,695),  500,416, Fox/Warner, 13.09.17

5. Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge: (US), SEK 62,632,712 ($7,946,039), 475,858, Walt Disney, 24.05.17

6. Despicable Me 3: (US), SEK 61,718,609 ($7,830,543), 613,266, UIP/Universal, 30.06.17

7. Fifty Shades Darker: (US), SEK 48,293,014 ($6,127,172), 381,309, UIP/Universal, 10.02.17

8. Moana: (US), SEK 46,431,551 ($ 5,890,947), 475,918, Walt Disney, 03.02.17

9. The 101 Year-Od Man Who Skipped Out On The Bill And Disappeared: (SE), SEK 45,561,801 ($5,780,598), 398,456, Walt Disney,         25.12.16

10. Dunkirk: (UK.US/FR/NL, (US), SEK 43,283,850 ($5,490,708), 319,902, Walt Disney, 19.07.17

Source: (Filmägarnas Kontrollbyrå, SFI)


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