Biggest local opening ever for Love Life adaptation
by Boyd van Hoeij
The directorial debut of Dutch soap actor-turned-media tycoon Reinout Oerlemans, A Woman Goes to the Doctor, broke box office records last week. It played to 30,000 patrons in previews on Wednesday night and sold almost 30,000 tickets on Thursday, its first day of commercial release. It has since well passed the 200,000 mark.
The Thursday box office take was over €200,000, more than double the first-day numbers of the previous opening-day record holder, Paul Verhoeven’s WII action drama Black Book [+see also:
film profile] (with €99,270), which was closely followed by the holiday-themed romantic comedy Love is All [+see also:
film profile] (€91,425). All three films star Valkyrie actress Carice van Houten.
A Woman Goes to the Doctor is the adaptation of the bestseller by Ray Kluun, translated as Love Life in English. The semi-autobiographical novel has sold over a million copies worldwide, with over 700,000 in the Dutch language area alone.
The book tells the story of a successful working couple in their thirties who have to deal with the fact the wife is diagnosed with breast cancer. The story is told from the sardonic, abundantly pop-referenced point of view of the cheating, freewheeling husband, who finds that the only way he is able to fully support his wife and her slow march towards death, is by getting unconditional love (and lots of sex) from another woman.
The film stars van Houten as the ill wife, Barry Atsma (from box office hit The Storm [+see also:
film profile]) as the philandering husband, and Anna Drijver (from Bride Flight [+see also:
interview: Ben Sombogaart
interview: Hanneke Niens
film profile], another successful local film) as the second woman in their marriage.
Oerlemans, who started as a soap actor in his early twenties but now heads up successful international media company Eyeworks, makes his debut as a director on the film. EyeWorks Film & TV Drama also produced the adaptation, in collaboration with Inspire Pictures. Benelux Film Distributors (BFD) released the film on 116 Dutch screens and also handles its release in Flanders, where the film opened December 2 on seven screens.