Top Women in Global Exhibition 2019: Jannicke Haugen, Nordisk Film

Earlier this year, Boxoffice Pro partnered with Celluloid Junkie to present the fourth-annual list of Top Women in Global Exhibition, published in our CinemaCon issue. Throughout 2019 and early 2020, Boxoffice Pro will continue to honor the women who have an immeasurable impact on the exhibition industry with a series of in-depth profiles.

Headed by CEO Jannicke Haugen, Scandinavia’s Nordisk Film has made strides into the future with their installation of a 4DX screen in Oslo’s Ringen Cinema. The success of that theater led to the planned installation of an additional nine 4DX screens by the end of 2021. The chain was also an early adopter in the growing world of esports; on November 10, they invited guests to watch the League of Legends world championship through their EsportBio concept. Nordisk Film currently has 22 theaters across Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

What have been the highest-grossing films in Norway so far in 2019, both among Hollywood imports and local titles? 

The highest-grossing films so far in 2019 are The Lion King and Avengers: Endgame. The highest-grossing Norwegian film is The Ash Lad: In Search of the Golden Castle.

What are the biggest challenges facing theatrical exhibition in Norway? 

Competition from other out-of-home activities is obviously one of the biggest challenges we face. But at least we can deal with this ourselves by improving our own products. The most frustrating challenges are the external ones, such as weather and [the quality of] films. As soon as we get some sun and warm weather in Norway, it is practically impossible to get people into the cinemas. 

Earlier this year, it was announced that nine 4DX screens will be coming to Nordisk, in addition to the screen already in place at the Ringen location. Is it fair to say, then, that Norwegian audiences are enthusiastic about immersive seating? 

Yes. The screen we have in Oslo is extremely popular. The occupancy is far above the estimates we initially had and above anything else we have seen here. We are currently adding two more 4DX screens in Tønsberg and Bergen and additional screens in Denmark as well. Hopefully, they will be as popular as the one in Oslo.

What other high-end amenities—for example, dine-in theaters with custom food/drink menus, recliner seats, or PLF screens—are particularly popular among Norwegian audiences? 

Recliner seats are very popular. Our new cinema in Bergen [is] full-recliner. We have very strict alcohol policies in Norway, but we are allowed to sell alcohol in some of the cinemas targeted to an adult audience. This is very popular, and people really enjoy a glass of wine at the cinemas.

The most spectacular cinema in Norway is Colosseum, where the largest screen has 888 seats and an amazing dome. A couple of years ago we rebuilt the screen and brought life to the dome, with projection mapping and customized dome shows. We still get extremely positive feedback from our customers. A lot of people prefer this legendary cinema over the new builds.

What does Nordisk Film do to support local filmmaking?

In addition to the 2.5 percent of the ticket revenues that all Norwegian cinemas pay to the Film Institute, Nordisk Film supports local filmmaking through both distribution and production. This is done through other entities than the cinemas, though. 

How much of Nordisk Film’s yearly box office would you say comes from local productions? 

Our aim is 25 percent of the yearly box office, but [that] depends on the films. In 2019, we will unfortunately not be close to this.

When did Nordisk launch your EsportBio concept? How many theaters does it operate in, and what has customer response been like? 

EsportBio launched in Norway in 2016 and has been tested out in both Colosseum and Ringen in Oslo. Response from our guests has been superb. There is no doubt that esport in cinema will be a winner in the years to come.

What’s your proudest achievement from your time so far at Nordisk Film? 

I am proud that we had the guts to invest big in 4DX, despite the warnings about not being able to make it profitable in a small market as Oslo. I am also proud to be part of a company that was willing to invest in projection mapping and customized dome shows at Colosseum. In this business, we tend to define a cinema’s quality based on seat comfort and technical specifications. At Colosseum, we invested huge amounts in the larger experience. This has been profitable from day one. And, of course, I am proud that our staff provides excellent service on a day-to-day basis. 

What advice would you give to women entering the theatrical exhibition business? 

I think women should find their own paths and formulas for success based on their own qualities. My personal experience is that the business is much more complex than I dreamt of. They should at least be aware of the complexity before entering the business. Which obviously also applies to the men in the same position.

How would you evaluate the progress women have made in the exhibition business in Scandinavia over the past few years? 

In our company, we have as many women in the management team as we have men. I am not impressed of the progress in the business, though. There are still too many men compared to women. I think most companies would benefit from a better mix. 

How did you come to be the CEO at Nordisk Film? What has your career path looked like? 

I have been working at Egmont—the owner of Nordisk Film—for many years. The last position was CEO Nordic at Egmont Kids Media. After a while, I wanted to cut back on traveling, and the position at Nordisk Film opened up. It turned out to be even more exciting and complex than I’d dreamt of.

Can you describe a formative moviegoing experience from your childhood? 

I have a lot of memories from the cinemas. I remember my first movie date; I snuck my glasses on in the dark, because I did not want my date to know that I wore glasses. I remember learning to dance by watching Grease and Saturday Night Fever, and I remember buying tickets to Kramer vs. Kramer for my parents when they decided to divorce. I have so many memories that the list could be never-ending.

Jannicke Haugen Pull Quote: 

“The perfect movie night starts at one of our cinemas, where we watch a touching film while enjoying a glass of wine. Afterwards, we discuss the film with a good meal at a local restaurant.” 

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