Code 37 confirms its hit status
by Aurore Engelen
04/11/2011 - As expected, Jakob Verbruggen’s Code 37 is proving to be a big hit at the box office. It must be said that it had all the ingredients to become a champion: a hit TV series as its base, a large dose of sex, villainous murders a-plenty, a popular cast, a rootedness in Flemish culture, and a hint of suspense.
A tiny market on a world scale, Flanders offers local producers a captive audience, eager to find their language and culture on screen. Unlike their fellow Belgians from Wallonia and Brussels, who are completely open to the audiovisual productions of their (big) French neighbours, Flemish people are relatively little exposed to Dutch productions.
Since the 1980s, they have regularly flocked to theatres to see “their” films. While back then, the tone was more towards comedy (Hector, Koko Flanel) and historical films (with Priest Daens, also by Stijn Coninx), since the early 2000s, Flemish viewers have shown an enthusiasm for dark films, thrillers often rooted in local reality (Erik Van Looy’s The Alzheimer Case [trailer], its sequel The K File [trailer] by Jan Verheyen, and more recently Michael Roskam’s Bullhead [trailer, film focus]). The biggest Flemish hit, Van Looy’s Loft [trailer], also uses the “American-style” thriller codes.
As for figures, Code 37 thus achieved the second best box-office start for a Flemish film (after the outstanding champion Loft), with over 8,000 viewers for its first day on release. At the end of its first weekend, the enthusiasm didn’t wane, with almost 110,000 admissions.
Code 37 is thus on its way to reaching the first place at the Flemish box office for a Flemish film, and incidentally the first place at the Belgian box office for a Belgian film. With the success of Bullhead, Frits & Freddy, and more recently Hasta la Vista! [trailer] (which drew over 100,000 viewers), Flemish cinema should aim for another record this year, after it exceeded 2m admissions in 2010.
But in the end, what we’ll remember of that first weekend on release is that Verbruggen and Hannah Maes held out against Steven Spielberg and Tintin!
(Translated from French)