Critics pan movie monopoly

This week's papers have been full of concern over SF Bio's possible buyout of Sandrew Metronome. The Swedish-based cinema and film distribution corporations together control most of the Swedish film market.

SF Bio’s Jan Bernhardsson said that he wouldn’t call it a monopoly, and estimated that after the buyout SF Bio will control only 65 percent of cinema visits; cultural minister Marita Ulvskog argued in Dagens Nyheter that the real percentage was more like 80.

The prospect of a single company controlling 4/5 of the film distribution in Sweden was enough to bring star directors and their concerns out into the media. While the papers focused primarily on statements by the cultural minister and characters within SF Bio and Sandrew – juicy and contradictory enough in themselves – Svenska Dagbladet asked several directors how they felt about the possible buyout.

Responses were, not surprisingly, negative. Roy Andersson, director of “Songs From the Second Floor,” said that his first reaction was “Dear God! Another monopoly! There are already so many.”

While a number of players within the film industry have come out with similar statements (and who’s to blame them, really – it’s no secret that fewer distribution companies is likely to mean fewer films and fewer theatres), nobody has proposed a solution to the low profit margin that’s causing Sandrew Metronome to attempt to sell up to SF Bio in the first place.