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BOX OFFICE Netherlands

2005: Dutch films tickets sales up; overall attendance down


With cinema attendance in decline throughout much of Europe this year, there is some positive news from the Netherlands, where locally produced films have taken a bigger share of the box-office pie and sales for local films are likely to surpass the number of tickets sold last year.

A total of 2.2 million tickets where sold for Dutch films in 2004, which was about 9% of total sales. This year, with still two months to go, the number is already at 1.9 million tickets, with the percentage going up to 12.4%. This bigger share is in part due to the lacklustre quality of American imports and a strong line-up of national titles aimed at the under 30 crowd and children, who make up the bulk of cinema-goers. Total ticket sales through October were off about 10% compared to last year.

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The best visited films of this year where the children’s films De Kameleon 2 (400,000 visitors), Zoop in Afrika, (350,000 tickets; still showing on 50+ screens after 16 weeks) and Lepel (206,000). The film Pluk van de Petteflet, which was released in November of 2004, added another 240,000 visitors in 2005. Two films aimed at adolescents also did big business: the comedy Het schnitzelparadijs [+see also:
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(330,000 tickets, still showing on 70 screens after 8 weeks) and the action comedy Vet hard! (196,000). All of these films except for Lepel are based on popular books, TV-series or previous films and thus profited from a built-in audience. No less than three films have surpassed the 317.000 barrier, the total number of tickets sold by Shouf shouf habibi, the number one of 2004.

Two titles are likely to join the list soon, both again aimed at children: the holiday season-themed Saint Nicolas’s horse (Het paard van Sinterklaas), which has already accumulated around 150.000 visitors and has just added another five screens for a total of 60, and the adaptation of the popular children’s book series The bus of creeps (De griezelbus) from director Pieter Kuijpers, which will be released in December.

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