2021 was another annus horribilis for cinemagoing in the Nordics, due to on-going and strict Covid restrictions that halved admissions compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Released late September/early October when cinemas for once ran at full capacity, “No Time to Die” literally saved the film year, and even ranked No.  1 among all James Bond movies ever released in Denmark.
Aside from Sweden, strong homegrown offers such as “Checkered Ninja 2” in Denmark, “Class Reunion 3” in Finland, “Cop Secret” in Iceland, “Three Wishes for Cinderella” in Norway enabled the Nordic nations to secure bullish market shares.


In 2021, “No Time to Die” smashed all B.O. records for a James Bond movie in Denmark. That, however, didn’t prevent overall ticket sales from plummeting 45% from 2019, due to the pandemic.

The Danish film year opened and ended with closed cinemas, and faced a record 138 days of full cinema lockdown, according to the cinema association Danske biografer. At DKK 654,622,085 ($98.2 million), total box office earnings off 6.8 million ticket sales were nearly half 2019’s trawl but stable compared to 2020, according to figures from the Danish Film Institute and distributors’ association FAFID.

The only period when cinema attendance rose to level with pre-pandemic levels was in the fall, and two film bestsellers proved that when attractive movies are available, Danes flock to the silver screens, as underlined by the cinema association managing director Lars Werge.

“No Time to Die” joined the club of one million admission holders and its 12 only members, rubbing shoulders with the foreign champion “Avatar” (1.15 million admissions in 2009).

Next to James Bond, Danish animated feature “Checkered Ninja 2,” created by local comedian Anders Matthesen, sold an impressive 930,321 tickets, nearing the 950,000 record of the first instalment which set a three-decade all-time record for a local film.
“Checkered Ninja 2” proved another massive success for Nordisk Film, distributor of the Oscar winner “Another Round” and 2020 B.O. champion.

Danish films ended up 2021 with a 41% market share from 2.8 million admissions, the second-highest level ever, after last year’s 51%.
Besides Matthesen’s animated film, other local hits were Charlotte Sieling’s historical drama “Margrete-Queen of the North” starring Trine Dyrholm as the Scandinavian monarch, Bille August’s “The Pact,”, Ole Bornedal’s WWII drama “The Shadow in My Eye” and the latest crime drama in the Department Q series “The Marco Effect,” by Oscar-nominated Martin Zandvliet.

Claus Ladegaard, head of the Danish Film Institute, said the local film industry has shown great resilience the past few years, “ensuring a wide range of Danish films that were able to take on the competition from the big international hits. 18 domestic titles are set to open the first half of 2022, including festival hits “The Lost Leonardo,” “As in Heaven” and “Speak No Evil.”

Top 10 Films in Denmark, 2021

Ranking based on admissions

(Title, distributor, admissions, gross, release date)

1 “No Time to Die,” SF Studios, 1,058,159, DKK 133 million ($20.2 million), Sept. 30

2 “Checkered Ninja 2,” Nordisk Film, 930,321, DKK 91.3 million ($13.9 million), Aug.19

3 “Margrete-Queen of the North,” SF Studios, 372,030, DKK 27.9 million ($4.2 million), Sept. 16

4 “The Pact,” SF Studios, 244,811, DKK 18.1 million ($2.7 million), Aug. 05

5 “Dune,” SF Studios, 239.027, DKK 29.9 million ($4.5 million), Sept. 16

6 “The Shadow in My Eye,” SF Studios, 228,039, DKK15.9 million ($2.4 million), Oct. 28

7 “The Marco Effect,” Nordisk Film, 225,243, DKK 23.3 million ($3.5 million), May, 27

8 “Fast & Furious 9,” UIP, 181,395, DKK 20.3 million ($3.09 million), June, 24

9 “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” SF Studios, 162,429, DKK 18.9 million ($2.8 million), Dec. 16

10 “Paw Patrol: The Movie,” UIP, 161,034, DKK 14.4 million ($2.2 million), Aug. 26

(source FAFID, Danish Film Institute)

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Margrete Queen of the North Credit: SF Studios


Forcing many cinemas to shut down, strict cinema restrictions all through the year – but especially in spring and late 2021 – had devastating effects on movie-going in Finland which sank to its lowest level on record, according to preliminary data from the Finnish Film Foundation.

For the second year, admissions and B.O. revenues plunged to more than half 2019’s, nosediving respectively 59% to 3.4 million and 54.65% to €43.5 million ($38.1 million) in 2021. Year on year, overall revenues remained stable but admissions were down 11.7% from 2020.

“COVID has been really hard for cinemas,” commented Tero Koistinen, CEO of the Finnish Film Chamber. Without subsidies channelled through the Finnish Film Foundation and support to companies from the State Treasury, many cinemas would have been lost,’ he said.
Thankfully Bond came to the rescue. Released late September, just as COVID cases were improving, “No Time to Die” grossed €9.38 million ($10.69 million) from 620,000 ticket sales, making it the second biggest earner ever after the 2017 Finnish historical drama “The Unknown Soldier”.

“No Time To Die” led the domestic charts and secured almost 40% of cumulated earnings from the Top 10 titles.

Also launched in September, “Dune” came second with 172,07 admissions, while “Spiderman, Far from Home” managed to secure a 4th place, despite its late release mid-December and new restrictions that led to cinema closure again.

U.S. fare that had been largely absent from screens in 2020, regained visibility and upped their market-share year on year from 34.5% to 41.3%, a level still far behind their 60% in 2019.

Although domestic films pulled in only 862,320 admissions – the lowest level since 2001 (657,540) – their 25% market share was the ninth highest in statistical history.

The biggest domestic title was the comedy “Class Reunion 3” helmed by one of Finland’s biggest Hollywood exports, Renny Harlin (“Cliffhanger”, “The Long Kiss Goodnight”).

Other standout domestic titles were this year’s Oscar submission and 2021 Cannes Grand Prize winner “Compartment No. 6”, and “Heartbeat Movie: Emergency,”a feature spin-off of the hit TV medical drama series “Nurses”. Meanwhile nearly 100,000 Finns watched the double-Oscar winning U.K. film “The Father,” released mid-August.

Top 10 Films in Finland, 2021

Ranking based on admissions

(Title, distributor, admissions, gross, release date)

1 “No Time to Die,” SF Studios, 621,396, €9.3 million ($10.7 million), Sept. 30

2 “Dune,” SF Studios, 172,079, €2.4 million ($2.84 million), Sept. 17

3 “Class Reunion 3,” Nordisk Film, 165,922, €2.1 million ($2.4 million), July 28

4 “Spiderman: No Way Home,” SF Studios, 138,297, €1.8 million ($2 million), Dec. 15

5 “Compartment No. 6,” SF Studios, 129,116, €1.4 million ($1.7 million), Oct. 29

6 “Heartbeat Movie: Emergency,” SF Studios, 119,161, €1.45 million ($1.66 million), Nov. 5

7 “Fast & Furious 9,” Finnkino, 106,338, €1.4 million ($1.6 million), June 30

8 “Paw Patrol: The Movie,” Finnkino, 114,730, €1.2 million ($1.45 million), Sept. 17

9 “The Father,” Atlantic Film, 99,556, €1.1 million ($1.3 million), Aug. 13

10 “Finders of the Lost Yacht,” Finnkino, 86,959, €899,503 ($1 million), July 14

(source Filmimakari/Finnish Film Foundation)

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Compartment No. 6 Credit: Sami Kuokkanen/Aamu Film Company


Cinema attendance increased 16.6% year on year to 5.6 million in 2021 while box office grosses rose 17.8% to NOK 678.4 million ($77.09 million), according the cinema association Film & Kino, although admissions were down 49% from pre-pandemic levels.

The first half of 2021 was “disappointing” due to strict COVID restrictions and related programming reshuffles, said the head of the cinema association Guttorm Petterson. But cinemas reopened in October, and…”we got Bond!” he said. October was in fact stronger than the same period in 2019 and November held well as well, with over one million monthly visits. “This shows that when there are no limits in cinemas and big movies are there, the audience comes back,” he noted.

December proved another set-back for the Norwegian film sector, as the Omicron surge prompted local authorities to reintroduce restrictions and further delays in blockbuster launches such as “Spider-Man-No Way Home”.

U.S. fare, usually contributing around 65% of ticket sales, climbed back from the record low 49% in 2020 to 59% in 2021, and seven films dominated the top 10, including the juggernaut “No Time to Die”.

Thanks to a strong and eclectic offer, Norwegian films attracted 5.8 million visitors, slightly down from 2020 (-3.2%). But at 30% their overall market share was the second highest after 2020.

The top Norwegian grosser was “Three Wishes for Cinderella,” a modern take on the fairy tale marking the feature debut of seasoned TV drama director Cecilie Mosli (“Grey’s Anatomy”, “Mammon”). The second biggest local entry was the disaster movie “The North Sea,” followed by Norway’s Oscar contender “The Worst Person in the World.” The dramedy was Joachim Trier’s biggest home hit with 214,043 admissions.

Top 10 Movies in Norway

Ranking based on admissions

(Title, distributor, admissions, gross, release date)

1 “No Time to Die,” SF Norge, 666,143, NOK 100.2 million ($11.4 million), Oct.01

2 “Three Wishes for Cinderella,” Nordisk Film, 571,135, NOK 65.6 million ($7.4 million), Nov 12

3 “The North Sea,” Nordisk Film, 221,452, NOK 27.4 million, ($3.1 million), Oct. 29

4 “Dune,” SF Norge, 217,107, NOK 31.4 million ($3.5 million), Sept. 15
5 “The Worst Person in the World,” SF Norge, 214,043, NOK 26.7 million ($3.0 million), Oct. 15

6 “Fast & Furious 9,” UIP, 195,423, NOK 26.9 million ($3.0 million), June 25

7 “Croods – A New Age,” UIP, 184,128, NOK 19.9 million ($2.2 million), July 2

8 “Paw Patrol: The Movie,” UIP, 167,411, NOK 17.9 million ($2.0 million), Aug. 20

9 “Boss Baby, Family Business,” UIP, 123,488, NOK 12.4 million ($1.3 million), Sept. 24

10 “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” Walt Disney, 94,615, NOK 12.9 million ($1.4 million), Sept. 01
(source Film & Kino)

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Three Wishes for Cinderella Courtesy of Storm Films


Despite restrictions in place throughout the year due to the pandemic, Iceland enjoyed a significant recovery from 2020, driven by U.S. and local screen heroes.

Although 31.3% down from 2019, box office earnings at ISK 1,084,391,002 ($8.5 million) improved by 62.4% from 2020, and admissions hiked nearly 50% to 765,894, according to the national rights holders’ association FRISK.

“No Time to Die” was the chart-topper grossing over ISK 87 million ($685,307) from more than 58,000 ticket sales, but a local hero almost challenged James Bond for the pole position. With his directorial debut “Cop Secret,”a parody of Hollywood ‘80s cop movies, Hannes Þór Halldórsson the Icelandic goalkeeper for the national soccer team earned over ISK 76 million ($597,099) from a record 41,534 admissions.

“Cop Secret” and the local comedy “Stitch n‘ Bitch” were the only two national entries in the top 20, but they managed to lift total revenues for Icelandic films year on year by 26.3% to ISK 146 million ($1.1 million) and admissions by 21.5% to 85,737. The two films also garnered 74% of all income from the 15 Icelandic films released in 2021.

Local films ended 2021 with an 11% market share in admission terms, against 83% for U.S. fare.

Among U.S. releases, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” secured a third place in the top 10 despite its end-of-year launch.

Top 10 movies Iceland 2021

Ranking based on gross B.O.
(Title, distributor, gross, admissions, release date)

1 “No Time to Die,” Myndform, ISK 87.6 million ($685,307), 58,018, Oct.08

2 “Cop Secret,” Samfilm, ISK 76.3 million ($597,099), 41,534, Oct. 20

3 “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” Sena, ISK 61.1 million ($477,769), 40,495, Dec. 17

4 “Dune,” Samfilm, ISK 42.7 million 334,253), 27,749, Sept. 17

5 “Paw Patrol-The Movie,” Samfilm, ISK 34.3 million ($268.884), 29.270, Aug. 18

6 “Free Guy,” Samfilm, ISK 33.9 million ($265,392), 23,760, Aug. 11

7 “Stitch n‘ Bitch,” Myndform, ISK 32.5.9 million ($254,731), 19,036, June 02

8 “Black Widow,” Samfilm, ISK 30.6 million ($239,528), 20,680, July 07

9 “Tom & Jerry,” Samfilm, ISK 29.5 million ($230,639), 26,029, Feb. 19

10 “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” Samfilm, ISK 28.2 million ($220,711), 19,053, Sept. 03
(source FRÍSK)

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Cop Secret Credit: Elli Cassata


2021 was another tough year for the largest Nordic nation, with on-going restrictions and eventually COVID-passes introduced Dec. 1 that “reduced people’s willingness to go to the movies,” according to Peter Fornstam, head of the Swedish cinema association.

Compared to 2019, box office returns slumped 57% to SEK 802,455,475 ($88.1 million) and admissions tailed off 61.5% to 6 million, although there was a slight improvement from 2020 – up 18.6% in grosses and 6.6% in admission terms.

The only time when cinemas were running at full capacity was in the fall, when Hollywood movies – many 2020 releases postponed to 2021 –  finally hit the screens, and ended up securing 56.8% of the market.

By far the biggest seller of the year, “No Time to Die” grabbed 32% of the B.O. returns from the top 10 films and sold almost twice as many tickets as its nearest competitor “Spider-Man: No Way Home”– 811,037 plays 447,713 for the Marvel superhero.

Admissions for local films that over the past two decades have stayed at 15 million-18 million plummeted to 759,571 in 2021; at SEK88,1 million ($9.6 million), B.O. returns sank 49% from 2020. Only one Swedish film made it into the top 10 for 2021: Franchise family movie “Sune-Mission Midsummer.”

The second biggest local movie was “A Christmas Tale,” directed by Hannes Holm (“A Man Called Ove”), based on a Swedish bestselling children’s book by Tage Danielsson.

Top 10 Films in Sweden, 2021

Ranking based on gross B.O.
(Title, distributor, gross, admissions, release date)

1 “No Time to Die,” SF Studios, SEK 128 million ($14.1 million), 811,037, Sept. 30

2 “Spider-Man-No Way Home,” SF/Sony, SEK 67.1 million ($7.3 million), 447,713, Dec 15

3 “Dune,” SF/Warner, SEK 42.6 million ($4.6 million) 282,480, Sept. 15

4 “Fast & Furious 9,” UIP/Universal, SEK 27.6 million ($3 million), 189,600, July 16

5 “Sune-Mission Midsummer,” Nordisk Film, SEK26 million ($2.8 million), 229,274, June 11

6 “Croods-A New Age,” UIP/Universal, SEK 22.1 million ($2.4 million), 192,880, Feb. 07

7 “Venom: Let’ There be Carnage,” SF/Sony, SEK 21 million, ($2.3 million), 148,778, Oct. 20

8 “Black Widow,” Walt Disney, SEK 20.7 million ($2.28 million), 147,925, July 7

9 “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” Walt Disney, SEK 20.4million ($2.24 million), 138,567, Sept. 01

10 “Eternals,” Walt Disney, SEK 19.9 million, ($2.19 million), 130,235, Nov. 03
(source Filmägarnaskontrollbyrå)

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Everett Collection