Dutch enjoy local Winter hits
by Boyd van Hoeij
03/03/2009 - Several local films have attracted more than niche audiences this winter, starting with the box office champion Winter in Wartime [trailer], which is currently in its 15th week of release and has amassed almost €5.9m to date.
The coming-of-age film set during WWII and directed by Martin Koolhoven might reach the magical threshold of 1m admissions, as it is still playing on 76 screens courtesy of distributor Benelux film Distributors. It currently stands at number 13 in the box office top 20.
The most popular local title at the moment can be found at number four: Spy of Orange, a mainstream comedy from director Tim Oliehoek. The spoof of the spy genre stars popular Dutch talk show host Paul de Leeuw as a fey fashion designer who happens to be the twin brother of the Netherlands’ best spy, who has gone missing.
Critics universally hated the film, but audiences seem to enjoy it. Spy has made €1.35m in four weeks for distributor A-Film and is still playing on 106 screens with a very healthy screen average of over €3,000 last weekend.
Just one spot lower on the top 20 is the children’s film Frogs & Toads from director Simone van Dusseldorp. It made over €718,000 for distributor A-Film since its release just over three weeks ago and can currently be seen on 103 screens.
Upcoming local titles include the arthouse films Winter Silence [trailer] (part of the Berlinale Forum) and Atlantis (Zabaltegi section in San Sebastian). Diederik van Rooijen’s Bollywood Hero, screened at Rotterdam, might ride the wave of goodwill resulting from Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire [trailer, film focus], seeing as how it’s also a handsomely mounted, Bombay-set adventure. Rising star Egbert-Jan Weeber plays a young Dutch traveller in the intimate and ultimately downbeat film.