For some years now MEDIA Salles has been investigating a much discussed area but one whose demand for deeper knowledge remains unsatisfied: that of added content for the big screen. In other words, the role that cinemas can play in spreading the enjoyment of art, culture, sport and live entertainment and making them more popular. In addition to the collection of statistical data, the articles published in the various editions of DiGiTalk and the communications presented during cinema events Europewide, MEDIA Salles has recently launched a new column starting with a glimpse at the Russian market. In this issue the focus has moved to Scandinavia.
Added Content and Films from Italy to Scandinavia
26 million inhabitants who visit the cinema a couple of times a year, i.e. above the average for the Continent, account for a market of 50 million tickets sold at over 10 euros each, a considerably higher price than in all other European countries: these are the key figures for the three countries of the Scandinavian peninsula, which, as usual, are joined by Denmark. Which Italian productions were most widely viewed in these countries in 2019?
As regards added content, although the northern markets strongly feature opera from the Metropolitan and ballet from the Bolshoi, there has been no lack of productions made in Italy. In Sweden in 2019, for example, "Tintoretto. Un ribelle a Venezia" / "Tintoretto. A Rebel in Venice" was released and in Norway "La Musica del Silenzio" / "The Music of Silence", based on the novel written by the tenor Andrea Bocelli and freely inspired by his life, came tenth in the classification of the most widely viewed titles. In Finland, instead, "Il Volo at Matera" was released. For Finnish audiences, in 2020 productions from La Scala have been announced, such as "Attila" and "Andrea Chénier", as well as "Il Trovatore" from the Verona Arena. Again from La Scala, Denmark is expecting "Tosca" interpreted by Anna Netrebko.
As far as films are concerned, we can see that once again in the past year a coproduction has appeared at the top of the charts everywhere: if, in 2018, it was "Call me by your name" that accounted for the lion's share - an Italian film but strongly supported by the international scope of its production and distribution - in 2019 we have "Todos lo saben" / "Everybody knows", coproduced by France, Spain and Italy. Asghar Fahradi's drama, released in Scandinavia in the first three months of the year, reached 20,000 spectators in Finland, where it was distributed by Finnkino, and 20,000 in Sweden, 16,000 in Denmark and 7,000 in Norway - territories covered by Scanbox. As regards the other positions in the top ten, Finland and the other three markets reveal quite different characteristics. In 2019 again, Finnish audiences seem to show some preference for "classic" horror, especially for Dario Argento, thanks to the distributor Cinema Mondo, which brought to the big screen "Phenomena" (1985), "Suspiria" (1977) - already released last year in the wake of Guadagnino's remake - "Tenebre" (1982), and "Profondo rosso" (1975), respectively in second, fourth, fifth and seventh place. The other three markets have several titles in common, such as, for example, "Lazzaro Felice". Distributed in Norway by Arthaus and in Denmark by Camera, the company that manages the Grand Teatret, the cinema which organizes the showcase "Cinema made in Italy" in Copenhagen, this film comes second in both countries, with respectively 7,000 and 4,000 admissions. Similarly, in Norway, Falaschi's comedy "Quanto basta" closely follows Rohrwacher's film, with over 5,000 spectators, whilst in Denmark it comes in fourth place selling a little under 3,000 tickets. Here it comes after "A casa tutti bene", which records a total of 3,500 admissions, a far more flattering result than obtained in Norway, where it comes in seventeenth place. The fact that the Scandinavian markets do not respond in the same way to the same film is also demonstrated by the results of "Loro", decidedly better in Norway and Denmark (in fourth place in both countries with over 2,000 admissions) than in Sweden. "Dogman" yields a similar result - but the other way round - coming second in Sweden with 6,000 admissions, fifth in Denmark and fourteenth in Norway, as well as "Bangla", fifth in Norway but in the bottom few places in Sweden. Instead, the success of "La paranza dei bambini" represents a uniquely Norwegian result, coming in sixth place with around 1,500 tickets.
Finland's interest in films from a more classical Italian repertory has already been mentioned but it is not an isolated case. In fact, "Nuovo Cinema Paradiso" is in seventh place in Norway, as well as coming eighth in Finland. And, again in Norway, Dario Argento's "Phenomena" and "Cesare deve morire", Golden Bear in 2012, have also been released.
Lastly, it is interesting to observe how Italian titles are translated in Scandinavia: "A casa tutti bene" has become "Min italienske familie", "Quanto basta" is "Smaken, i.e. taste, av Toscana" in Norway and "Smagen af Toscana" in Denmark. This reference to one of the regions best loved by northern peoples returns in the title of "Le meraviglie", rendered by "Miraklene i Toscana". To sum up, the objective is to link the film to experiences that audiences wish to repeat or to what is known, sometimes in the form of stereotypes, about Italy and the Italians. And so the rather enigmatic "Loro" has become the far more transparent and internationally comprehensible "Silvio og de andre", whilst "La paranza dei bambini" in Norway becomes "Camorraens barn". No need to be an expert linguist to grasp the meaning here!
This text is based on an article published in the Berlinale issue of Cinema & Video Int'l, the MEDIA Salles media partner.
(Per leggere il testo in italiano cliccare qui)