The Nordic box office of 2017

It’s clear to see that 2017 has been another big year for Nordic film, with major releases both locally and internationally, plus a huge number of awards at various film festivals. Screen has published a report on the Nordic box office of 2017, and it is well worth a read. I’ll summarise it below, but you can read the whole report here.

So, lets start with Denmark. So far, cinema admissions are at 11 million, down 8.8% from last year. The Danish market share (aka the percentage of Danish films at cinemas) was 22%, a fairly strong figure.

The biggest local success of the year is the comedy Three Heists and a Hamster, the third film in a trilogy that follows Ralf and Timo and all the adventures they get up to together. The series is hugely popular in Denmark, yet it hasn’t been exported to other regions. It features a strong cast including Zlatko BuricSonja RichterMick Øgendahl and Rasmus Bjerg and is written/directed by Rasmus HeideThree Heists and a Hamster came in at number five in the top ten at the box office, numbers 1-4 being Hollywood films. It is the only Danish film to crack the top ten.

The other big film of the year is Small Town Killers (number 19 at the box office), a black comedy directed by Ole Bornedal and featuring an all-star cast of Ulrich Thomsen, Nicolas Bro, and Søren Malling. Overall though, Danish film suffered in 2017 despite major releases like The Man, You Disappear and Darkland.

Our fan-voted Danish film of the year was Three Things, starring international stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Birgitte Hjort Sørensen.

Over in Finland, it is undeniable that the biggest film of the year is Aku Louhimie‘s war drama The Unknown Soldier, which has come out number one at the box office, making $12 million USD since its release a couple months ago. That means it has performed three times as well as the number-two film on the chart, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge – a crazy thought!

The Unknown Soldier helped boost Finland’s cinema admissions to 8.7 million, up 1% from 2016, and Finnish films had a market share of 25%, compared to 29% in 2016. Other big performers in Finland were the comedy Lapland Odyssey 3 (number 4 at the box office and not exported to other countries), the historical drama The Eternal Road, the biopic Tom of Finland, directed by Dome Karukoski, (not in the top 10 yet a big festival success abroad) and the kids film Jill, Joy and the Mysterious Stranger.

Our fan-voted Finnish film of the year is Tom of Finland.

Up in the north, Iceland has had another amazing year for film. The biggest local hits of the year also are number one and two in the box office (good on Iceland for supporting local films!) and are the thriller I Remember You, which has earned $717,000 USD, and the comedy Under the Tree (our Nordic film of the year!), which has passed $630,000 USD. The festival success Heartstone (it’s won 45 awards!) was in 13th place at the box office, pulling in just over $300,000. However, admissions to Icelandic cinemas are down 4.3%. Still, the Icelandic market share is up 12.4%.

Over in Norway, local films suffered in 2017 with 9/10 films in the top ten box office being US films. The only local film to crack the top ten is The Ash Lad: In the Hall of the Mountain King, which sits in third place. However, this film has not been exported out of Norway. Cinema admissions are down 10.4% and the market share dropped from 22.3% in 2016 to 16.5% in 2017. All is not lost, though, as the World War II film The 12th Man will be released on Christmas Day. And if there’s one thing the Norwegians love, it’s WWII dramas.

Festival favourites What Will People Say and Joachim Trier’s Thelma did okay, with 98,000 admissions and 60,000 admissions respectively. Other than that, the only notable box office hits were kids films.

Our Norwegian film of the year was The Snowman (shot in Norway), but it was nowhere to be seen on the Norwegian box office list.

Lastly, in Sweden, the top ten was exclusively Hollywood films (oh dear…). The biggest performing Swedish film of the year came in at number 12 and was The 101 Year Old Man Who Skipped Out on the Bill and Disappeared, which made $8.4 million USD, not a bad figure at all.

Other local films that did well are Borg/McEnroe with $3.7 million USD, The Square (Palme d’Or winner and Cinema Scandinavia’s Swedish film of 2017) with $3 million USD, and Sami Blood with $2 million USD.

The local market share is currently receiving an end-of-year boost with Solsidan The Movie, which is adapted from a hugely popular television show of the same name.

Our list of the most anticipated films for 2018, plus our lists of the best films of 2017, will be released tomorrow!

Emma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.