Finland hits the 8-million-admissions mark for the fourth year running
by Marta Bałaga
- Thanks to crowd-pleasers Happier Times, Grump and Land of Hope, in 2018 domestic films notched up 1.9 million out of the overall 8.1 million admissions
Domestic Finnish films racked up 1.9 million admissions in 2018 (out of a total of 8.1 million), with almost every fourth ticket sold being for a Finnish movie. Although the result didn’t quite match last year’s, it marks the fourth consecutive year when the 8-million-admissions mark has been reached, with the domestic market share hovering at around 23.7% – still one of the highest in Europe. With 41 domestic premieres, including ten documentaries and three international minority co-productions, five films broke through the 100,000-admissions mark, while four out of the ten most popular titles were directed by women, including Happier Times, Grump, which has outperformed the competition, with 347,429 admissions.
The sequel to the popular dramedy The Grump [+see also:
film profile] also came in second in the overall statistics, sandwiched in between Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again [+see also:
film profile] and Bohemian Rhapsody [+see also:
film profile]. Produced by Solar Films and financed by the Finnish Film Foundation, MTV3, Nordisk Film and Elisa Viihde, it was helmed by actress-turned-director Tiina Lymi, who previously enjoyed commercial success with Lapland Odyssey 3. “The Grump himself is so recognisable for the Finnish audience; everybody has one in his family,” says the director. “He has to face his own attitudes towards the world and realise that what he thinks is right doesn’t always work. This film shows that it’s never too late to find your way back to the people you have lost at some point – at least not as long as there is love.”
It was followed by Markku Pölönen’s Land of Hope [+see also:
interview: Markku Pölönen
film profile] – another win for Solar Films, featuring a star-making turn from Oona Airola. At the time of writing, the film had racked up 191,510 admissions, placing it at number eight among all the films released last year. “It’s a woman’s point of view, and women made – and still make – Finland go round,” says producer Rimbo Salomaa, explaining its success. “They were always used to hard work, especially during the war and right after, when the men came back crippled both mentally and physically. And also, it’s a love story – about real love, not some crush – and people who made a commitment to fight for their marriage,” he tells Cineuropa. “It was watched everywhere, not only in the cities, because it’s a countryside movie – Markku is a common Finnish guy from the countryside, and people love to like him. Everybody wanted him to succeed again.”
Timo Koivusalo’s glossy biopic Olavi Virta (150,125 admissions) rounds off the top three, with the children’s animation Super Furball, directed by Joona Tena, coming in at number four, with 147,286 admissions. It was followed by My Brothers Keeper with 121,757 (helmed by Jukka-Pekka Siili) and Aku Louhimies’ box-office phenomenon and the highest-grossing local film last year, The Unknown Soldier [+see also:
film profile], bringing in an additional 98,757 admissions. Following in its footsteps were Taru Mäkelä’s comedy Storage 2 with 95,317, Lenka Hellstedt’s Winning Ticket with 74,635, and one more entry in the popular children’s franchise directed by Saara Cantell, Jill, Joy and the Sleeping Clock, with 67,504. The top ten was rounded off by Teppo Airaksinen’s ingenious take on the life of a famous Finnish singer, The Ragged Life of Juice Leskinen [+see also:
film profile], already boasting 67,345 admissions despite having premiered only in late December.
The documentary film with the most admissions was Kai Kuntola’s Saaga S – satu suomenhevosesta, about a Finnish racehorse. Produced without the Finnish Film Foundation’s support, the movie took over 5,000 admissions.
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