A new film by Norwegian director and actress Liv Ullmann opened at Norwegian cinemas over the weekend but only 3,350 people bought tickets to go see it. The film flop came despite rave reviews for Ullmann’s Frøken Julie (Miss Julie).
The film, based on a play by August Strindberg, had a budget of NOK 28 million and received NOK 7.7 million in state support. It features a cast of some well-known Hollywood actors including Colin Farrell and Jessica Chastain. Some reviewers have already claimed that Chastain should be considered for an Oscar for her performance as the conniving daughter of a wealthy man who sets her sights on her father’s valet.
The film also received glowing reviews when it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last weekend, and Ullmann even received a standing ovation from those in attendance.
Ullmann has long seemed to be far more popular abroad than she is at home, though, and one Norwegian film expert said it also was “a challenge” to get Norwegians interested in a Strindberg play.
“When you make a film out of a Strindberg play, it doesn’t really matter if it features a lot of stars,” Kjetil Lismoen, editor of Rushprint, told newspaper VG. “It’s still a challenge to get the public to go see it.”
With only 3,350 tickets sold, the film ranked 10th on the list of films shown in Norwegian cinemas over the weekend. Lismoen was nonetheless surprised that Ullmann’s film did so poorly. “It should have done better,” he said.