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Country Focus: Iceland

Admissions up 7% in 2009


- Eager to be entertained during one of the country’s worst-ever economic crises, Icelanders flocked to cinemas in 2009. General admissions were up 7% last year, to 1.6 million, and average admissions per capita hit a record 5.3, three times the EU level according to Iceland Cinema Now (ICN), which used figures from trade association SMÁÍS.

Local films kept a stable market share at around 10%. The biggest hit of the year was the US comedy The Hangover (60,569 admissions, SamFilm), followed by the Swedish blockbuster The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo [+see also:
film review
film focus
interview: Niels Arden Oplev
interview: Søren Stærmose
film profile
(51,862 admissions, Sena).

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [+see also:
film profile
was third in the top ten (48,596 admissions, Samfilm) and the UK Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire [+see also:
film review
film focus
interview: Danny Boyle
film profile
was number seven (38,760 admissions, Myndform).

The most successful local film was the comedy Jóhannes by Thorsteinn Gunnar Bjarnason (36,417 admissions, Myndform). Released at the end of 2009, Ragnar Bragason’s comedy Mr Bjarnfredarson (SamFilm), the feature film spin-off of the TV series The Prison Shift, immediately took second place among the ten biggest local hits of 2009. The film has now sold over 65,996 tickets in ten weeks.

Among the record 12 Icelandic films released in 2009, half were documentary features. Two of them fared particularly well: Dreamland by Thorfinnur Gudnason and Andri Snaer Magnason (16,213 admissions) and Fridrik Thor Fridriksson’s Sunshine Boy (13,586 admissions).


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