Danish films – box office record

2008 will be a record year for domestic films at the Danish box office. At the beginning of December, an annual record dating back 27 years has already been surpassed. In 1981, Danish films sold 4.1 million tickets in Denmark for the entire year. In 2008, this record was beaten by 8,000 tickets already on November 30. We have to go back 30 years to find a year when more Danes went to the cinema to see Danish films. That was 1978, when a total of 5.4 million tickets were sold.Keeping in mind that the 1981 media landscape was markedly different, makes this year's ticket sales for Danish films even more striking.Cinemas did not face much competition in 1981 when it came to watching movies. Danes back then had to get by with a single Danish TV channel – TV 2/Danmark wouldn't appear until 1988 and the TV3 satellite channel first started transmitting in 1987. Video was still new in 1981 and very few had invested in VCRs at a time when VHS and Betamax were still fighting the format war.Today, we have a far greater range of TV channels, while DVD players and bigger screens, along with computers and game consoles, provide new and technically improved opportunities, not only for watching movies at home, but also for many other forms of home entertainment. That domestic films, despite all this competition, still manage to draw more people to cinemas in 2008 than in 1981 is impressive.

Number of tickets sold to Danish films since 1980 (Source: Statistics Denmark). The number of tickets sold for 2008 include the first eleven months only.

Cinemagoing declined in the 1980s and early 1990s, from a high around 16 million tickets in 1981 (4.1 million for Danish films) to approximately 9 million in 1995 (780,000 tickets for Danish films). Then it started climbing again.Recent years have seen a lot more films being released theatrically. The total of new theatrical releases, both domestic and international, has risen almost 50% since the 1990s, and films now have shorter theatrical runs. Recent film policy agreements have boosted the number of Danish feature films. Now, 20-25 new productions every year compete with foreign releases, providing a varied selection in cinemas the year round and ensuring a vibrant Danish film culture.The Danish film policy of producing significantly more features would seem to be working as intended. Every year since 2001, the box office share of Danish films has been slightly above 25%. It now looks like that share will exceed 30% in 2008.Two Danish films have yet to be released: Lotte Svendsen's "Max" (working title) for 5 December and Kristian Levring's "Fear Me Not" for 19 December.
For further information:
Current admission figures for national films in Danish cinemas

Danish Film Institute (DFI)
Henrik Bo Nielsen, +45 3374 3501, hbn@dfi.dk