This Life stands firm, even against The Hunger Games
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
28/03/2012 - US director Gary Ross’ The Hunger Games may have signed a $155 million and the third-largest domestic opening ever, but in Denmark it fell short of Danish actress-writer-director Anne-Grethe Bjarup Riis’s feature debut, This Life (aka The Hvidsten Group), which took 47,894 admissions during its fourth weekend against Hunger’s initial 43,610.
Including previews the US blockbuster sold app 53,000 tickets, and because of higher ticket prices – it is 30mins longer – it won the No 1 place on the box office charts. (as in Sweden/99,000, Norway/65,000, Finland/41,000). ”In our marketing campaign we have tried to promote The Hunger Games as a phenomenon like the Harry Potter and Twilight series, and it has obviously worked,” said managing director Jan Lehmann, of Denmark’s Nordisk Film Biografdistribution.
Meanwhile Danish producer Regner Grasten, of Regner Grasten Film, is readjusting his expectations to This Life – originally he had hoped for 250,000 admissions to cover the €3.2 million costs, but after a launch where the film accounted for 45% of all box-office generated in Danish cinemas, he upped them to 350,000. Now – ”if all goes well, and wind and weather are helpful, we will exceed 500,000 by the end of the week.”
”I think the reason for the sudden success is that is not a film about war, but about ordinary people and their values of life, which make you think of what goes on in the world today,” explained Grasten of the depiction of patriotic resistance against Nazi occupation in the Danish province during WW II, which has Lars von Trier collaborator Anders Refn as technical director and editor. He will launch the film internationally at the upcoming Cannes International Film Festival.