Glut of films leads to colossal box office flop

Only 556 people see film in opening weekend, putting the distribution of subsidies for Danish cinema under scrutiny after nine films were scheduled for release in September and October

November 3rd, 2012 4:25 pm| by admin

A film subsidised with seven million kroner of government money flopped in its opening weekend after only 556 people bought tickets to see it.

‘Viceværten’ is a tale about a janitor who happens upon a fallen angel with special powers with whom he develops a sexual relationship.

While the film went down well with the critics, it bombed in the cinemas and recorded one of the worst opening weekends ever. The film’s producer, Zentropa, now anticipates that the film, which cost 10 million kroner to make, will lose at least one million kroner.

Part of the blame for the low turnout can be attributed to the fact that the new James Bond film, ‘Skyfall’, opened on the same weekend. But while this was anticipated, another of the film’s producers, Ib Tardini, was still surprised by how few people went to see it.

“James Bond has filled a lot of screens but we hadn’t anticipated that it would affect our audience,” Tardini told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “I simply cannot understand what went wrong. You’ll have to ask the distributor.”

The film’s distributor is Nordisk Film whose head of distribution, Jan Lehman, said he was also disappointed.

“’Viceværten’ is a good film but it has no commercial content,” Lehman told Jyllands-Posten. “It’s a small art house film with a limited potential though it has already done worse than expected. The public has spoken and I can’t explain why no one wants to see it.”

Danish cinema is subsidised by the government but questions have been raised about whether the money is being properly administrated.

Nine Danish films that collected a total of 56 million kroner of subsidies, and accounted for 42 percent of all Danish releases this year, were scheduled to premier in September and October.

“It runs contrary to all our cultural and business principles to drown the market as has happened this year,” Kim Pedersen, chairman of  Danske Biografer, a cinema owners' association.

Peter Aalbæk Jensen, the managing director of Zentropa, also disagreed with the timing of the films.

“It’s pathetic that the films are timed so close together,” he told Jyllands-Posten.

Det Danske Filminstitut, a state-funded body responsible for promoting Danish cinema, distributes the subsidies and has tried to encourage distributors to spread the films out through the year.

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