Local film sets Belgian boxoffice record


BRUSSELS -- The Belgian police drama "Vermist" (Missing), directed by Jan Verheyen, set a new record for a domestic film at the Belgian boxoffice last weekend, grossing 341,000 euros over five days.

The grosses helped it outstrip the previous record set in 2003 by Erik Van Looy's "The Alzheimer Case," despite its limited release in Flanders and Brussels only. "Missing" also secured the top notch at the national boxoffice in Belgium, beating "Michael Clayton," "Stardust" and "The Invasion."

"Missing" centers on an investigation led by the Belgium's Missing Persons Unit as it searches for a 16-year-old girl and uncovers a world of sinister sex parties. The cast of "Missing" will remain in the public eye: They will star in a new television drama series, airing on Belgian broadcaster VT4 at the end of 2008.

However, the weekend also marked a high point for other local movies in Flanders, the northern, Dutch-speaking half of Belgium. While "Missing" claimed 16.75% of Flemish boxoffice, children's movie "Plop and the Penguin" claimed 11.78%, and "Ben X," Belgium's official entry for the foreign-language Oscar, grabbed 6.44% -- all three were co-funded by the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) and released by Kinepolis Films.

It added up to a 35% score for Flemish movies last weekend, beating the previous record, in December 2003, when "Alzheimer Case" and "Team Spirit II" jointly reached 33%.