Country Focus: Belgium
A good year at the Dutch wickets
by Boyd van Hoeij
- Last year was an excellent year for cinema-going in the Netherlands, with a record-setting 27.2m tickets sold for regular screenings, an increase of 15.2% when compared to 2008. With higher ticket prices factored in, box-office earnings where up 21%.
Home-made features also profited in absolute numbers, holding their ground with a virtually unchanged 17.4%, for a total number of 4.73m tickets sold (4.2m in 2008).
The most-visited film of the year was David Yates’ UK-US co-production Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [+see also:
film profile], which sold 1.3m admissions, followed by animated US film Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs with 1.1m.
The first Dutch film comes in at number three: Current box-office smash A Woman Goes to the Doctor [+see also:
film profile], which was released late November, sold 923,000 tickets in 2009 and will soon pass the 1m mark. The film is still in the current box office top five with a total take of over €7m.
The only other local film in the year-end box-office top ten is the historical disaster film The Storm [+see also:
film profile], which comes in at number nine with a total gross of €4.6m. However, if the top ten is ranked in terms of the number of visitors rather than income, the film ranks fifth overall with 726,000 tickets sold.
The four major festivals in the Netherlands attracted 710,000 visitors in 2009, with only the International Film Festival Rotterdam registering a decline in numbers (from 355,000 in 2008 to 341,000 in 2009), while the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, the Netherlands Film Festival and Film by the Sea all showed a small increase in numbers.
The total number of films distributed via the regular channels was 334, with 45% of the films coming from the US, 33% from Europe excluding the Netherlands and 10.4% local films (including co-productions). The films from the US took almost 70% of the box office pie, with non-Dutch European films taking 12.3%.