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BOX OFFICE Finland

In a difficult year for cinema, local films still put up a decent fight in Finland

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- In 2020, Finnish movies registered 1,583,618 admissions, taking 41.1% of the market share

In a difficult year for cinema, local films still put up a decent fight in Finland
Actress Seela Sella in Ladies of Steel (© Sami Kuokkanen/Helsinki-filmi)

Although the Finnish box office predictably saw a significant drop in 2020 – according to the information published by the Finnish Film Foundation, the results amounted to less than 3.9 million, less than half of the 2019 admissions – six local films made it into the top 10, with Pamela Tola's road movie Ladies of Steel [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Pamela Tola
film profile
]
leading the pack with 247,000 admissions.

“I do find it encouraging and I think this shows that, when the restrictions due to COVID-19 are eventually lifted, the audience will come back to cinemas,” said Matti Paunio, head of production at the Finnish Film Foundation, to Cineuropa. “The thrill of the common experience around a film in a movie theatre has not vanished.”

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Overall, films directed by women fared better than ever, gathering 57% admissions of all new Finnish releases in 2020. Family film Hayflower, Quiltshoe and the Feisty First-grader by Lenka Hellstedt came in fourth position with 179,830 admissions, while Finnish Oscar submission Tove [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Zaida Bergroth
film profile
]
(also the most popular Swedish-language film, set mostly in Finland) directed by Zaida Bergroth, and children's film Ricky Rapper and the Fake Vincent directed by Maria Sid were among the ten most-watched titles.

Taneli Mustonen's comedy The Renovation [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
ended up sixth, with 178,043 admissions, followed by Antti Jokinen’s biopic Helene [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
and, further down the line, Ville Jankeri’s Forest Giant [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, One Half of Me and Games People Play [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
rounded up the top 20. But documentary film also made its mark, with the scandalous Lost Boys [+see also:
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film profile
]
by Sadri Centinkaya and Joonas Neuvonen bringing in nearly 74,000 admissions, and Virpi Suutari’s Aalto [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
taking in 45,000.

Among the international titles, the appeal of Frozen II proved impossible to shake, with the animated flick becoming the most-watched film of all time by a female director in Finland with a total 533,600 admissions. In comparison, Christopher Nolan's Tenet [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
had to do with 181,000 admissions, while Parasite (the most watched film in Helsinki) brought in a similar 180,000 admissions.

“The lack of global blockbusters did leave space for longer runs and a greater variety of theatres, for example for arthouse and documentary films,” points out Paunio. “As for the local hits last year, they are good films with wide audience appeal and I think they would have fared well in more normal circumstances as well, so I think that the success of these women-led hit films was in fact due to their qualities. Local films that were courageously launched last year despite the capacity restrictions were very important for the theatres all around Finland, struggling with the situation.”

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