The English-written Danish news site, The Local, has described the last twelve months in Danish film as ‘disastrous’.
Quoting Danish newspapers Berlinske and Politken, the site highlights how only 2.8 million tickets were sold for Danish films, a far cry from the 4.2 million sold in 2015. This has made it the worst year for the domestic film industry since 2009.
Of the eleven films released in Danish cinemas, only four drew over 200,000 people, the rest averaging around the 10,000 mark. The biggest selling film was A Conspiracy of Faith with 700,000 tickets sold for the latest instalment of the movie adaptations of Danish author Jussi Alder-Olsen’s popular ‘Department Q’ novels.
Danish films released in 2016 include The Commune, The Model, Shelley, Walk With Me, The Day Will Come, Satisfaction 1720, In the Blood and Antboy 3. Many of these films, in particular, The Commune, managed to do very well abroad.
The problem isn’t bringing audiences to the cinema – in fact over 13 million tickets were sold for all films in 2016. But Denmark’s movie-going public largely stayed away from Danish films. Kim Pedersen, the chairman for Danske Biografer, the national association for movie theatres, said he can’t remember such a bad year for the local film industry.
“This is the first time in my entire career that there wasn’t a major Danish family film ahead of the autumn school break, which is the most important time of the whole year for the theatres,” The chairman for Dankse Biografer, the national association of movie theatres, told Berlingske, adding that the market was overly dominated by American films like Trolls.
Pedersen also suggested that there are simply too many Danish films being produced and that the quality is suffering as a result.
“Instead of focusing on offering taxpayers quality, there are a number of cheap films that are made with the hope that one of them will pay off. Rather than making 22 films per year, we should maybe go for 15 films that are made by good directors and with proper budgets,” he said.
Henrik Bo Nielsen, the head of the Danish Film Institute, acknowledged that 2016 was a bust for homemade films, but wasn’t overly concerned that it was a sign of trouble in the industry.
“If you look back at the last 10 to 15 years, there are just some years that stick out,” he told Politken.
He predicted that the industry would bounce back in 2017, saying he had high hopes for the Nordisk Film comedies Alle for Tre and Dræberne fra Nibe, as well as the newest instalment in the popular family film series Far til fire.