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COLOGNE, Germany – Crime thriller Headhunters and a bumper crop of children’s films helped Norwegian cinema make a killing in 2011, with ticket sales hitting a record high and local films accounting for a 24.5 per cent market share.
Morten Tyldum‘s Headhunters, based on the best-seller by Jo Nesbo, has sold 557,000 tickets in tiny Norway (pop. 5 million) for a box office take of around $10 million. It was the second-most successful film of the year, beaten out only by Warner Bros.’ juggernaut Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. And Headhunters wasn’t alone. Eight Norwegian titles sold more than 100,000 tickets – the rule-of-thumb measure for a blockbuster in the territory – with children’s titles including Arild Ostin Ommundsen’s Twigson in Trouble and Arne Lindtner Naess’ Magic Silver 2 – The Quest for the Mystic Horn leading the pack.
In total, Norwegian films accounted for 2.85 million admissions and nearly a quarter of the total market, the best result since 1975. Overall attendance for 2011 was 11.65 million, a 5.7 percent jump and the strongest performance of any theatrical market in Europe last year, according to Norwegian cinema association Film & Kino.
2011 was also the year Norwegian films broke wide, with several titles, including Joachim Trier‘s Oslo, August 31st, Jens Lien‘s Sons of Norway and Anne Sewitsky‘s Happy, Happy scooping up multiple international festival honors. Happy, Happy, which won the Grand Jury Prize for best narrative feature at its debut in Sundance, will represent Norway in this year’s foreign language Oscar race.
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