Just before the Christmas Eve, on 23 December, is the Finnish premier for the movie "The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe" based on C.S. Lewis' beloved books. However, quite a lot has happened at the leading Finnish movie theatre operator Finnkino before the movie is ready to be shown for the audience

Narnia's Way to the Movie Theatres

The story of Narnia begins when four Pevens children, Lucy, Edmund, Susan, and Peter, are evacuated to the country during the Second World War. The children find their way into another world that exists beyond the back of a wardrobe, Narnia. In Narnia the children meet speaking animals, dwarfs, fauns, among others - they are all bewitched by White witch to suffer from eternal winter that will only end when the children will be crowned to the throne of Narnia. With Aslan the Lion by their side, the children start their battle against the witch...

- First news of the Narnia movie came to Finnkino in summer 2003, during the movie fair in Amsterdam. The schedule for Finnish premier was drafted about a year before the actual opening, in December 2004, Kaj Itämäki, Finnkino's Marketing Manager says.

Finnkino sent out the first news about the Narnia movie in August 2004. At the same time, the marketing materials, posters and trailers, of the movie "The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe" were finalised. - We make different versions of posters and trailers. The first ones that are published at early stage are mainly teasers just to raise people's interest. Later on we publish materials that give more information about the movie, Itämäki describes.

Christmas Season for Families

The Finnish premier for the first story of Narnia, "The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe" is scheduled just before Christmas. - In recent years, we have created a tradition of brining a family movie for Christmas season, Itämäki says.

According to Itämäki, Narnia can turn out to be a success story like Harry Potter and the Lord of Rings have been. Likethese, the story of Narnia is a serial and sequels are most likely coming in the near future.

Narnia Breaking the Records

The actual timetable for showsis agreed some 2 to 3 weeks before the premier. - For example in Narnia's case, the timetable is scheduled as versatile as possible so that the audience can enjoy the movie almost anytime, Itämäki says. After a couple of weeks, the tempo is slowing down but as Itämäki says that, "The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe" will stay in repertoire until spring or early summer in the biggest Finnish cities.

The work at Finnkino does not end when the premier is over. After the movie is in the repertoire, analysis and follow-up work starts. - The audience is analysed on daily basis during the Christmas holidays. Reporting is an essential part in movie theatre business, and the audience figures etc. are combined globally, Itämäki sums.

Narnia's world premier was already in the beginning of December and the audience figures around the world are already really promising. In the US market, the movie got second biggest audience of December premiers - only Return of the King from the Lord of the Rings trilogy has done better. Itämäki has strong believe in the movie's success also in Finnish market.