Country Focus: Finland
Local market share down 8% in 2009
by Annika Pham
18/01/2010 - After three years above 20%, the 2009 domestic market share for Finnish films fell back to the 2005 level of 15%, down 8% on the 23% share in 2008.
General admissions also fell by 2.4%, to 6.7 million. For Harri Ahokas, head of Distribution at the Finnish Film Foundation, the lack of domestic children/family films was “the most important reason for weaker admissions”.
However, in 2009 four local titles passed 100,000 admissions mark, against seven the previous year. Aleksi Mäkelä's comedy Hellsinki [trailer] was the biggest local hit (256,000 admissions) and third most popular film of the year, after the family blockbusters Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [trailer] (US/UK).
Mika Kaurismäki’s comedy-drama The House of Branching Love [trailer] was the second biggest Finnish film (143,930 admissions), followed by Dome Karukoski’s youth drama Forbidden Fruit [trailer] (115,147 admissions) and Timo Koivusalo’s Civil War movie Under the North Star [trailer] (101,152 admissions). Klaus Härö’s Letters to Father Jacob [trailer] (Finland’s Oscar nomination submission) garnered over 97,000 admissions. Danny Boyle's Academy Award winning UK film Slumdog Millionaire [trailer, film focus] was number six in the Finnish top ten of 2009 with 187,156 admissions.
Ahokas predicts a new upturn in admissions for this year, thanks notably to three children/family films and to the increased digitisation of cinemas (25% of screens in 2010), which should improve distribution and favour greater diversity in programming. The first local premiere of 2010 was Neil Hardwick's If You Love [trailer], produced by Juonifilmi and released by Fs Film Oy on January 6. The musical love story between a politician’s daughter and the son of an immigrant family took second place in the top ten, behind Avatar [trailer], its opening weekend.