summer of  92 posterEXCLUSIVE: Roundly praised and highly-anticipated, Danish drama Summer Of 92 is expected to be one of the blockbusters of a year that is already proving strong at the local box office (see trailer below), and is also expected to travel. Released locally today, the movie traces the underdog 1992 Euro Cup team, a replacement for Yugoslavia which had been barred from international soccer after the United Nations passed sanctions against the war-torn country. The side rose to triumph even as the players suffered personal tragedies. It hails from The Numbers Station helmer Kasper Barfoed, who wrote the screenplay with Anders Frithiof August of The Legacy and the superhot upcoming drama series Follow The Money.

Among the cast are Ulrich Thomsen (Thomas Vinterberg’s The Commune, Susanne Bier’s In A Better World) and A Royal Affair breakout Mikkel Boe Folsgaard. In a twist for a Danish film, this one is a UK co-production between Meta Louise Foldager’s Meta Film (A Royal Affair, Melancholia) and Kris Thykier’s London-based PeaPie. Thykier’s credits include the Bradley Cooper-starrer Burnt, the recent Woman In Gold, Bafta nominated Trash and Kick-Ass among others.

He tells me that Summer Of 92 is not your average sports movie. A Dane himself, and the rare Londoner who is not an avid football fan, he sparked to the project because it’s a story that is ingrained in the national history, one everyone knows. But, it was important that it not be considered just a football film, and rather a drama. “The great sports movies are about character, drama and emotion — often male emotion at a heightened pitch — about inspiration and triumph against the odds. l wanted to make a movie that dealt with character, not the act of kicking a ball. The reference for me was always The Full Monty, a film about a group of men thrown together by circumstance and dealing with issues in their lives, not a film about stripping.”

The first reviews have been wildly positive (see photo above right). One today noted it’s “a film that is both moving and uplifting and gripping — even though everyone knows how it ends.”

This has been another strong year for Danish cinema. The Absent One, the second in the Department Q series has sold over 768K tickets; Anders Thomas Jensen’s comedy Men & Chicken is at 358K and Niels Norlov’s My Canadian Adventure – Quest For The Lost Gold has sold 333K. In total, 2.45M tickets have been sold to local films this year with about 8M overall through mid-August. The head of the Danish Cinema Association recently told Cineuropa that local films and overall audiences will set records in 2015. Among the biggest Hollywood movies are Fifty Shades Of Grey, Furious 7, Jurassic World and Mission: Impossible.

Summer Of 92 is expected to fly the flag high for local movies, while a vastly different picture, Klovn Forever, will enter the market on September 17, nicely setting up the fall season for these two big local titles. The latter is the follow-up to the massively successful (855K admissions) 2011 hit Klovn which played both the Fantasia and Fantastic Fests and was released by Drafthouse in 2012. Both pics are expected to travel with Summer Of 92 eyeing a potential Berlin slot in February. Hanway has sales.

Here’s the trailer:

Sommeren92_trailerUKsub (1) from Metafilm on Vimeo.