New deal between Astoria and SF
by Annika Pham
Swedish arthouse cinema chain Astoria Cinemas has sold another two venues to rival exhibitor SF Bio, as part of the financial reconstruction plans for the cash-strapped company headed by distributor Mattias Nohrborg (Triangel Film).
The two companies have agreed that two of Astoria’s biggest cinemas, the Biopalatset in Stockholm (10 screens/1,148 seats) and the Biopalatset in Göteborg (10 screens/1,334 seats) would be sold to SF Bio, as well as that Astoria would be responsible for programming four screens in SF Bio’s flagship theatres in Lund and Uppsala and – starting August 31 – five screens at the Biopalatset in Göteborg.
“We have both secured part of our finances and acquired a better cinema structure for our concept, which is to focus on showing quality films,” said Nohrborg. “As we can now programme films in Lund, Uppsala, beyond the eight sites that we already run in three cities (Göteborg, Stockholm, Malmö), we believe that the conditions to oversee a niche and quality-oriented exhibition chain are very good”.
Among the films currently screening at Astoria’s Biopalatset in Stockholm are La vie en rose [+see also:
film profile], The Lives of Others [+see also:
interview: Florian Henckel von Donners…
interview: Ulrich Muehe
film profile], Free Jimmy [+see also:
film profile], The Queen [+see also:
interview: Andy Harries
interview: Stephen Frears
film profile] and The Boss of it All [+see also:
Founded in 2005 when arthouse distributors Triangel Film and Atlantic teamed up with producer S/S Fladen to buy Sandrew Metronome’s 22 Swedish cinemas, Astoria had to file for receivership last October, crippled by a SEK 80m debt. The company closed down nine cinemas in small Swedish towns and sold three others to SF Bio. The exhibition group, part of Scandinavian studio Svensk Filmindustri, is now the biggest player on the Swedish market with almost 40 cinemas across the country.
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