This year will be an annus mirabilis for Danish film
Last year, television ruled supreme. This year, on the other hand, is increasingly looking like it belongs to the Danish film industry. Films like ‘Jagten’ (‘The Hunt’), ‘En Kongelig Affære’ (‘A Royal Affair’) and ‘Hvidsten Gruppen’ (‘The Village: One Family’s Sacrifice will let a Country Live’) are picking up awards and good reviews, both home and abroad, and for the latter two, audiences are showing their approval at the box office. Before the year is out, these three films (‘Jagten’ will be released on October 18) are expected to reap unprecedented earnings.
‘En Kongelig Affære’ took £74,000 (683,000 kroner) in its opening weekend in the UK (June 15-17) and a glowing report from the British public. Ninety-one percent of those polled said the film was either excellent or really good – 30 percent above the average.
Furthermore, both ‘En Kongelig Affære’ and ‘Hvidsten Gruppen’ are currently neck-and-neck in their quest for 2012 domestic box office glory, outselling the top international film, ‘The Avengers’, by two to one. They have already sold more than 500,000 tickets, although they have a long way to go to catch ‘De Røde Heste’ (‘The Red Horses’), a 1950 film that 2.3 million Danes saw.
‘Hvidsten Gruppen’ with 756,000 sales, is (according to Danmarks Statestik) the third best watched Danish film this century and has earned more than 60 million kroner domestically. In comparison, last year’s top grossing film in Denmark, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2’, raked in 65 million kroner.
‘En Kongelig Affære’ (510,000 sales) has helped by its inclusion on Biografklub Danmark’s special offer ticket. A purchase enables the club’s members to see seven movies at a significant saving every season.
Inclusion on the Biografklub Danmark list, which started back in 1997, is believed to greatly strengthen a film’s performance at the box office, as it means many Danes end up seeing a film they wouldn’t have normally chosen.
It has a controversial selection process, and in Tuesday’s Jyllands-Posten, it was reported that a storm is brewing at production company Zentropa over which of its films should be included in the special offer.
Meanwhile, both films are preparing for an assault on international audiences. ‘En Kongelig Affære’, which won two Silver Bears at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival in February, has already been released in Germany, Estonia, Sweden, Ireland and the UK, and is slated for release this year in Australia (21 June), New Zealand (28 June), the Netherlands (23 August), Argentina (13 September), Norway (14 September) and France (October).
‘Hvidsten Gruppen’, which is taking a slower approach, will be screened at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, which begins on 29 June in the Czech Republic.
With the country’s Oscar nomination up for grabs later this year – don’t forget that there is also a third film in the hunt – it could go on to be a rivalry every bit as intense as that of ‘Borgen’ and ‘Forbrydelsen’ (‘The Killing’).