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Finns flock to the cinema, 8.7 million tickets sold last year

Movie theatres are on a roll in Finland, with cinema attendance numbers among the highest they have been in 30 years. Netflix and other streaming services haven't put a dent in the surge, and Finland's top cinema chains are investing in more theatres.

Risto Räppääjä ja yöhaukka elokuvasta.
The latest Ricky Rapper instalment was the number one film in Finland in 2016. Image: Artista Filmi

Close to 8.7 cinema tickets were sold in Finland in 2016, the second-largest amount since 1983. The only year to beat it was 2015, when close to 8.8 million tickets were sold. The Finnish Chamber of Films that keeps the statistics forecasts that the magical nine million mark will soon be surpassed.

"Last year’s audience tally and theatre renovation projects lead us to believe that it could even be possible to break the 10 million viewer threshold," says the Chamber’s CEO Tero Koistinen.

Cinema-goers are also spread equally throughout the country. While most frequent the growing film complexes in urban areas, countryside theatres are also seeing more movie fans.

Domestic family movies lead the pack

Close to every third ticket buyer in Finland chose a domestic film in 2016. Family movies reported record revenue. The latest instalment in the movie versions of the Ricky Rapper children's books from sister-duo Sinikka and Tiina Nopola, Ricky Rapper and the Nighthawk (Risto Räppäjä ja yöhaukka) was number one at the 2016 box office. The superhero film Deadpool and the visually stunning nature film Tale of a Lake (Järven tarina) followed.

"Four of the top five movies were domestic and three of these were family movies," says Koistinen. 

Of the top 30 movies in Finland last year, 11 were domestic productions.

Finnkino is the king

There are 171 cinemas in Finland, featuring 327 screening rooms.

Two Swedish-owned cinema chains dominate the Finnish market: Finnkino and Bio Rex movie theatres take in over 80 percent of ticket revenue.

Finnkino has 14 locations in 11 cities; featuring 98 auditoriums that combined contain 15,000 seats. For comparison's sake, the sports arena Hartwall Areena has a total of 12,000 seats. Finnkino is also an importer and distributor of films in Finland.

Finnkino reported a second consecutive record year in 2016, after 5.9 million people in Finland bought tickets to their films. Every fifth box office purchase was for a 3D movie showing.

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