Country Focus: Denmark
Zentropa films are Danish best-sellers abroad
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- Between 1996-2012, 191 Danish features (from a total production of 491) were released in foreign theatres, to take more than 33.1 million admissions. In the same period, Danish titles sold 50.8 million tickets domestically – accordingly, the international audience share of total attendance reached 37.1%.
Himself a former exhibitor, chairman of the Association of Danish Cinemas and vice president of the International Union of Cinemas Kim Pedersen has analysed the performance of Danish features in the international markets during the last 17 years.
In Danish film magazine Ekko, he concluded that “von Trier, Scherfig, Vinterberg, Bier and Danish animation” made the difference: films by Lars von Trier accounted for 45.5% of international admissions, Lone Scherfig for 10.3%, Thomas Vinterberg for 8.5%, Susanne Bier for 8.4% and Danish animation for 17.5% - or a total of 90.6%.
The 25 most successful titles (13%) constituted 85% of the attendance – 73 films were seen by less than 10,000 cinemagoers. The 10 Dogme films (between 1998-2001) signed for 22.2% of total admissions; the most profitable year of production was 2000, when Danish movies were seen by almost 10 million people abroad. Leading production company was Zentropa Entertainments, controlling 68.9% of the audiences (22.8 million), followed by Nimbus Film (12.4%/4.1 million).
Pedersen also observed that 16 Danish films with a different dialogue than Danish represent 47.3% of the international admissions – or 65%, including Danish animation. Von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark, which won the Palme d’Or in Cannes, reached 4.4 million ticket sales – against Sweden’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo [+see also:
interview: Niels Arden Oplev
interview: Søren Stærmose
film profile] (aka Men Who Hate Women/2009), Danish director Niels Arden Oplev’s first part of the Millennium trilogy, which took 9.8 million.
Danish Top Five Films abroad 1996-2012: 1: Dancer in the Dark (2000) by Lars von Trier. 4.4 million admissions. 2: Breaking the Waves (1996) by von Trier. 3.9 million. 3: Italian for Beginners (2000) by Lone Scherfig. 2.9 million. 4: Dogville [+see also:
film profile] (2003) by von Trier. 2.4 million. 5: Festen/The Celebration (1998) by Thomas Vinterberg. 2.4 million.