Finnish hit The Unknown Soldier expands into Scandinavia
by Vassilis Economou
- Celebrating 100 years of Finnish independence, the war epic and most successful release in Finland, attracts interest in neighbouring Sweden
The Finnish blockbuster war epic, The Unknown Soldier [+see also:
film profile], expands its international success after being the fastest film to sell out at its international premiere at Tallinn’s Black Nights Film Festival, while also having the most successful opening of a Finnish film in Sweden in the past decade.
The Unknown Soldier, an adaptation of the 1954 best-selling World War II novel of the same name by Finnish author Väinö Linna, was directed and written by Aku Louhimies and follows a platoon of Finnish soldiers in the battlefields over the course of three years during the Continuation War between Finland and the Soviet Union. Officially part of the centenary anniversary of Finnish independence, the war epic, with a €7 million budget, was initially released in Finland during the last weekend of October and is still number one at the box office, with almost 850,000 admissions and a gross income that is set to surpass €12 million in Finland alone.
Being the first Finnish film to be distributed in Sweden by SF Studios in its 98-year history, The Unknown Soldier succeeded in attracting more than 20,000 admissions in its opening week at 100 cinemas. This is the most successful opening for a Finnish film in its neighbouring country of Sweden for the past ten years, with the film expected to rack up over 100,000 admissions. The film’s initial success in Sweden proved that there is a lot of interest in the Scandinavian market as a whole, with SF Studios also set to release the film in Denmark and Norway.
The film’s success in Finland is no surprise, seeing as Aku Louhimies’s film is the third adaptation of Väinö Linna's novel, with the 1955 version directed by Edvin Laine still holding the record for the most successful film in the history of Finnish cinema, with more than half of the population, 2.8 million people, watching it in theatres.
The Unknown Soldier was produced by the director, Mikko Tenhunen, and Miia Haavisto for Elokuvaosakeyhtiö Suomi 2017 (Finland), in co-production with Kvikmyndafélag Íslands (Iceland) and Scope Pictures (Belgium) and was supported by the Finnish public broadcaster YLE and the Finnish Film Foundation.
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