Ticket sales for local films decreased from 25% to 20% of total box office receipts in Sweden during 2015. This is a fall of 800,000 from 4.1 million in 2014 to 3.3 million in 2015.
In November the figures were significantly worse with a record low of 15% of ticket sales being for Swedish films. However, the extraordinary success of A Holy Mess (En underbar jävla jul) and A Man Called Ove (En man som heter Ove) pushed the average for 2015 up to a less worrisome 20%.
“It is a worrying development, especially as we now enter a period with a lack of sustainability in Swedish film policy, which is unlikely to be rescued by single films. Swedish film needs long term rules and renewed movie contracts,” said Peter Fornstam, Chairman of SBF, the Swedish Cinema Owners’ Association.
The current Film Agreement, which was launched in 1963, provides funding for Swedish films by diverting 10% of ticket sales back to the industry. However, this system will come to an end in 2017 and is to be replaced by a State Film Policy which is expected to be unveiled during the first quarter of 2016.
“We strongly believe in Swedish films but are critical of the government’s desire to break the link between Swedish film production and cinemas,” continues Fornstam. “Break this relationship, and you risk worsening the trend we have seen in recent years.”
“In the coming year I don’t really have any major Swedish films on the horizon. There’s a reason for that – producers will not start on any movies. We are in a kind of limbo. The Ministry of Culture has created an uncertainty about what the film policy will mean.”