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GÖTEBORG, Sweden — Home to the most dynamic streaming markets in Western Europe, the Nordic region still posted solid box office returns in 2019, especially from Hollywood tentpoles “The Lion King,” “Avengers: Endgame” and “Joker,” which ruled on all top ten charts, except in Denmark. Local fare, however, lost ground in all five territories.

DENMARK

Denmark enjoyed another strong cinemagoing year in 2019, with overall revenues up 4% to NOK 1.18 billion ($175.1 million). After a record 2018, when Danish films punched a 30% market share, home-grown titles still retained 26% of the market – above the 25% average of the last decade, according to the Danish Distributors’ Assn., FAFID.

Boosted by the local animated sensation “Checkered Ninja,” total admissions for local fare reached 3.5 million. Created by comedian-turned director Anders Matthesen, a late 2018 kid’s movie release, sailed to the top of the 2019 Danish box office, earning $8.2 million and accounting for 17.7% of all tickets sold for Danish pics. Three other Danish titles entered the Top 10: The female-skewed comedy “Hunting Season” by Tilde Harkamp, top seller among all Danish openers in 2019, the reality-inspired Isis hostage drama “Daniel,” by Niels Arden Oplev, (“The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo”), and Sundance-winning drama “Queen of Hearts,” directed by May el Toukhy.

Mads Nedergaard, head of FAFID, praised the “great top 10”, with all titles selling over 300,000 tickets, based on “films of a great diversity, from folk comedies, superhero drama, to family movies.” He also noted the role of infrastructure investment in 2019, that contributed to a surge in admissions. “The rise [in admissions] must not least be seen in the light of cinema venues that are being built and modernized throughout the country like never before,” he said.

U.S. films took a 60% share of ticket sales, up 2 % on 2018. Disney ’s “Avengers: Endgame” was the biggest foreign hit with a $10.1 million gross. The family brand’s other tentpole movies were “The Lion King” and “Frozen 2,” positioned No. 6 on charts, despite a late Christmas Day release.

DENMARK: TOP 10 FILMS 2019 (Source Danish Film Institute/FAFID)

Films, admissions, gross B.O.(1DKK=$.14 as of Jan.18), distributors, release date)

1. “Checkered Ninja,” 621,000, DKK55.4m ($8.2m), Nordisk Film, Dec. 12, 2018

2.“Avengers-Endgame,” 574,000, DKK68.5m ($10.1m), Disney, April 24, 2019

3.“Joker,” 516,000, DKK50.7m ($7.5m), SF Studios, Oct. 3, 2019

4.“The Lion King,” 512,000, DKK50.8m ($7.5m), Disney, July 17, 2019

5.“Hunting Season,” 474,000, DKK 43.1m ($6.3m). Nordisk Film, Oct. 3, 2019

6.“Daniel,” 473,000, DKK38.9m ($5.7m), Nordisk Film, Aug 29, 2019

7.“Frozen 2,” 417,000, DKK 38m ($5.6m), Disney, Dec. 25, 2019

8.“Green Book,” 415,000, DKK31.5m ($4.6m), Nordisk Film, Feb. 21, 2019

9-“A Star is Born,” 372,000, DKK34.9m ($5.1m), SF Studios, Dec. 6, 2019

10-“Queen of Hearts,” 333,000, DKK24.7m ($3.6m), Nordisk Film, March 28, 2019

FINLAND

In 2019 box office returns in Finland were up 6.2% year-on-year to €95.9 million ($106.4 million) – the second highest tally in a decade- thanks notably to sustained efforts from exhibitors to renovate venues and build new ones, and solid earnings from Hollywood fare. According to provisional data from the Finnish Film Foundation, the four top grossers of 2019 were U.S. tentpoles: “Joker” ($5.8 million), under SF Studios’ banner, and the Disney titles “Avengers: Endgame” ($4.88 million), “The Lion King” (4.8 million) and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” ($4.2million). Released on Christmas Day, “Frozen 2” still secured a sixth position at the top 10. Local fare, however, dropped significantly by 25.9% in admissions to 1.9 million and by 27.4% in box office.

With a market share of 16.8%, by admissions, Finnish films posted their lowest score since 2009 (15%). Only one domestic film made it in the top ten – family franchise “Ricky Rapper and the Strongman,” which sold 288,305 tickets.

Among the top four Finnish titles that passed 100,000 admissions were two biopics featuring the lives of local music legends: “King of Hearts” about country singer Kari Tapio; and “The Ragged Life of Juice Leskinen,” revisiting the life of the titular Finnish singer-songwriter. Despite lower numbers for local pics, Lasse Saarinen, Finnish Film Foundation CEO, stayed upbeat, claiming that a 25.4% average market share for Finnish fare over the last decade is still “exceptionally good”.

FINLAND TOP 10 FILMS 2019 (Source: Finnish Film Foundation)

Films, admissions, gross B.O. (€1=$1.1 as of Jan. 20) distributors, release date

1. “Joker,” 402,892, €5.2 m ($5.8m) SF Studios, Oct. 4

2.”Avengers: Endgame,” 342,893, €4.4m ($4.8m), Disney, April 4

3.””The Lion King,” 333,239, €4.1m ($4.2m), Disney

4.Star Wars-The Rise of Skywalker,” 293,889, €4.1m ($4.2m), Disney, Dec.18

5.”Ricky Rapper and the Strongman,” 288,305, €2.8m ($3.1m), Nordisk Film, Feb.2

6.”Frozen 2”, 255,606, €3.2m ($3.6m), Disney, Dec.25

7.”Downton Abbey,” 229,721, €2.7m ($3m), Finnkino, Sept. 13

8.”The Secret Life of Pets 2”, 226,488, €2.3m ($2.5m), Finnkino, June 26

9.”Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” 216,156, €2.8m ($3.1m), SF Studios, Aug.16

10.”Aladdin”, 201,350, €2.2m ($2.4m), Disney, May 24.

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ICELAND

After several years of steady growth, box office returns for Icelandic films plunged dramatically by 68% to ISK 76 million ($612,856), compared to ISK 240 million ($1.9m) in 2018, although as many titles were released (16). According to to Icelandic cinema association FRÍSK, the share for local titles by revenue plummeted from 16.3% to 4.8%, year-on-year, the lowest level since 2015.

In terms of admissions, only 54,000 Icelanders bought a ticket to watch a local pic, down almost a third from 2018. And, unlike 2018, where Baldvin Z’s drug abuse drama “Let Me Fall” galvanized local market share with 52,901 admissions, making it the second biggest hit of the year, last year’s top local performer “Agnes Joy” ranked only 17 with 12,215 tickets sold. The mother-daughter comedy drama by Silja Hauksdóttir had its world premiere in Busan.

The overall market slowed in 2019, sliding 12% to ISK 1,580,370,576 ($12.7m) in gross revenue, due notably to Iceland’s fluctuating exchange rate, FRÍSK explained.

As in recent years, U.S. fare dominated the market and even peaked at 91% of revenues, up 7% from 2018. Seven Disney titles were among the top earners 2019, driven by “Avengers: Endgame” ($744,351) and “The Lion King” ($643,996).

ICELAND TOP 10 FILMS 2019 (source FRÍSK)

Films, gross B.O. (1ISK=$0.008 as of Jan. 20) admissions, distributors, release dates

1.”Avengers: Endgame,” Kr 92,319,853 ($744,351), 66,124, Samfilm, April 24

2.”The Lion King”, Kr 79,973,157 ($643.996), 51,662, Samfilm, July 17

3. “Joker”, Kr 72,105,125 ($581,365), 51,662, Samfilm, Oct.04

4.”Frozen 2”, Kr 54,144,112 ($436,550), 49,061, Samfilm, Nov.22

5.”Star Wars-The Rise of Skywalker”, Kr 52,174,500 ($420,670), 35,808, Samfilm, Dec.19

6. “Toy Story 4” Kr 49,959,463 ($402,810), 45,932, Samfilm, June 20

7.”Captain Marvel”, Kr 48,141,329 ($388,160) 36,741, Samfilm, March 08

8.”Spiderman:Far from Home”, Kr 46,037,835 ($371,200), 34,709, Sena, July 03

9.”Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”, Kr 37,917,749 ($305,728), 27,375, Sena, Aug.14

10.”Aladdin”, Kr 32,479,955 ($261,883), 27,004, Samfilm, May 22

Still in release in 2020

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Vintage Pictures

NORWAY

In 2019 Norwegian general attendance dropped 6.8% to about 11.3 million, a level slightly south of the yearly average of 11.9 million in the 2000s according to provisional data from the Norwegian cinema association Film & Kino. This prompted Guttorm Petterson, head of the trade body, to say that despite the large supply of films on other platforms, “cinema visits remained stable” in 2019.

The year was marked by a strong finale with nearly 1.4 million tickets sold in December, the highest monthly visit since October in the record year of 2016. Like everywhere else in the Nordics, Disney’s “Frost 2” was a major contributor to the positive end of year results and immediately claimed the fifth place at the 2019 top 10, grossing about $4.8 million locally.

Disney’ s two biggest hits were “The Lion King” ($8.3 million) and “Avengers: Endgame” ($7.8 million). U.S. titles nabbed 65.6% of the market, up from a 61.1% share in 2018.

Contrastingly, Norwegian titles plunged by 31.9% in admissions to 2.07 million, and by 35.6% in revenues to NOK 210.4 million ($23.2 million) according to Film & Kino. Taking a neutral stand, Stine Helgeland, NFI executive director, promotion & international relations, said 2019 was a ‘middling year’ for Norwegian films, and the market drop was not alarming, compared to the record year of 2018. “For the last 10 years, we have seen fluctuations in the market share between 17.9% in 2012 and 25.1% in 2018, so I am not worried by a single year,” she said.

As always, family films were homegrown favorites, and in 2019, three franchise pics featuring national heroes from children books or folklore tales made it into the top 10: “Forgotten Christmas “(415,479 admissions), followed by “The Ash Lad-In Search of the Golden Castle” (257,992) and “Captain Sabertooth and the Magic Diamond” (250,141). All three were released by Nordisk Film. The epic survival movie “Amundsen” helmed by “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’” Espen Sandberg, sold 209,039 tickets for SF Norway, while Berlinale’s competition entry “Out Stealing Horses” by Hans Petter Moland ranked No. 5 among domestic pics with 105,680 admissions.

NORWAY TOP 10 FILMS 2019 (source: Film & Kino)

Films, admissions, gross B.O. (1NOK=$0.116 as of 20.01), distributors, release dates

1.”Lion King,” 618,184, NOK75.8m ($8.3m), Disney, July 7

2.”Avengers: Endgame,” 520,135, NOK70.8m ($7.8m), Disney, April 24

3.”Joker,” 446,829, NOK59.7m ($6.6m), SF Norway Oct.4

4.”Forgotten Christmas,” 415,479, NOK59.7m ($4.4m), Nordisk Film, Nov.8

5.”Frozen 2,” 387,089, NOK43.4m ($4.8m), Disney, Dec.25

6. “Star Wars:The Rise of Skywalker,” 295,568, NOK41.8m ($4.6m), Disney, Dec. 18

7.”Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” 270,517, NOK35.9m ($3.9m), SF Norway, Aug. 16

8.”The Ash Lad: In Search of the Golden Castle,” 257,992, NOK26.3m ($2.9m), Nordisk Film, Aug. 23

9.”Captain Sabertooth and the Magic Diamond,” 250,141, NOK24.7m ($2.7m), Nordisk Film, Sept.27

10.”Ralph Breaks the Internet” 249,151, NOK25m ($2.7m), Disney, Feb.1

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VLAD CIOPLEA/Fantefilm

SWEDEN

General cinema-going was relatively stable in 2019 with SEK 1.92 billion ($202 million) in box office returns, less than 1% down on 2018. Admissions dropped 3% to 16 million, which is just short of the 16.8 million average of the last decade, an overall “normal” level for Peter Fornstam, head of the Swedish cinema owners’ association SBF (Sveriges Biografägare Förbund).

U.S. pics accounted for 73.4% of all tickets sold and grabbed the top 10 spots at the national box office. By far the biggest hit was “The Lion King” with over 1 million admissions ($15.4m), followed by “Avengers: Endgame: with 770,757 admissions ($11.7m).

However, Swedish pics sunk to a record low. With 2.1 million tickets sold in 2019, down 31% from 2018, homegrown titles accounted for 13.2% of the national market (vs. 18.7% in 2018). No local title was in the top 10, and if it wasn’t for late December entries “Sune Best Man” (160,359 admissions) and the musical “A Piece of My Heart” (166,632), the market share for local fare would have been closer to a low 10%, asserted Fornstam.

Only three local titles passed 200,000 admissions: “Bamse and the Thunderbell” (220,029), Pernilla August’s vehicle “Britt Marie Was Here” (211,846) and the comedy franchise “Sune vs Sune” (203,678).

All in all, ticket sales for Swedish films have been halved since 2014, despite a production volume up 40% since 2013, and 60 new films released in 2019 according to SBF.

The cinema association blames the Swedish Film Institute’s support system as well as VAT increase on cinema tickets from 6% to 25%, introduced in 2017 to fund local films under a new Film Policy. A study about why Swedish films struggle to reach a larger audience has now been commissioned by the SFI.

SWEDEN TOP 10 FILMS 2019 (source: SBF)

Films, admissions, gross B.O. (1SEK=$0.10 as of 20.01) distributors

1. “Lion King,” 1,127,362, SEK146.8m ($15.42m), Disney

2.”Avengers: Endgame,” 770,757, SEK112.01m ($11.76m), Disney

3.”Joker,” 662,691, SEK87.05m ($9.14m), Disney

4.”Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker,” 513,700, SEK75.7m ($7.95m), SF/Warner

5.”Frozen 2,” 498,612, SEK55.4m ($5.8m), Disney

6.”Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” 336,549, SEK46.9m ($4.93m), SF/Sony

7.”Aladdin,” 358,708, SEK45.5m ($4.78m), Disney

8.”Captain Marvel,” 328,367, SEK44.2m ($4.65m), Disney

9.”Spiderman: Far From Home,” 328,868, SEK43.04m ($4.52m), SF/Sony

10.”How to Train Your Dragon 3,” 360,422, SEK39.84m ($4.18m), UIP/Universal

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Sf Studios Sweden