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Visit biografmuseet.dk about Danish cinemas


Classics at the Royal
The largest screen in Sweden

This article first appeared in
..in 70mm
The 70mm Newsletter

Written by: Sebastian Rosacker Issue 65 - July 2001

Royal and the curved 70mm screen in Malmö.  Picture by Thomas Hauerslev

Click to see enlargement.

In 1997, I started thinking about how to celebrate my 45th birthday. I had never been "happy" in the kitchen, so I thought I have to find something quickly before I started to panic. All of a sudden something clicked in my brain: why not see my favourite film at my favourite movie theatre???!!!

So I then called SF-BIO AB and discussed my idea with Annika Christén. She wanted to think about it. It took a couple of months, but she happily said YES!!! And it all started. On April 26th 1998, we were 531 very happy and expectant people at the finest movie theatre: The ROYAL. We were all seated in front of the biggest screen in Sweden (17,6m/57ft wide), and watching the best film ever made: "Doctor Zhivago".

And to top it all off, it was shown in the best film-format: 70MM!!!

Further in 70mm reading:

Julie, Sebastian and Zhivago

"Doctor Zhivago" at the Royal

70mm screenings

Internet link:

A very happy man, Mr. Sebastian Rosacker. Image by Thomas Hauerslev

The event was a big success and Annika Christén wanted to continue. And so began a wonderful period in my life, one that unfortunately, now seems to have come to an end.

We inaugurated a series, "Classics at the Royal", to continue and expand the appreciation of the excellent films of yesteryear. During 1998-1999 we showed "The Sound of Music", "Star!", "Gone With the Wind" (in 35mm) and "Funny Girl". We were 1070 happy movie lovers (an average of 267,5/performance). 1999-2000: "Ben-Hur", "That's Entertainment", "Waterloo Bridge" (35mm) and "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World". This time we gathered 1236 (309/performance), very happy 70mm lovers. 2000-2001: "Cleopatra", "West Side Story", "Gone With The Wind" (35mm) and "Oliver!". This year, we gathered even more people: 1451 (363/performance)
Royal projection room with projectionist Hans Braman "behind the machine". Image by Thomas Hauerslev

Furthermore, the Royal was preparing for it's 40th anniversary on March 15th 2001.

For this we thought, why not show the film that opened the theatre in 1961: "Windjammer". And it would only be fitting to charge the same price as 1961: SEK 4, 6 & 8. (about 40, 60 & 80 cents). 

Our tickets were released in September 2000 and it was totally sold out within 5 weeks, some 5 months in advance. What to do? We decided to add an extra-performance on March 18th. That sold out as well. And so, on March 15th 2001 we finally got to re-experience one of the Royal´s most enduring hits: "Windjammer", which originally was on for 37 (!!!) weeks in 1961. This time it was shown in 35mm-format (as opposed to the original run in the Cinemiracle process) and in the presence of the brain behind Royal: Sten Löfberg (at the age of 95). Also attending was the film's director, Louis de Rochemont. Happy to be at the Royal, he said that most movie makers never get a chance to experience their films 40 years later, and in a sold out theatre (682 people). One of the finest Swedish actors, Göran Stangertz read the inaugural speech from 1961. It surely was an evening to remember.
The special event "Doctor Zhivago" poster promoting the Royal and 70mm. Click to see enlargement.

During the years of the series, we had a very good collaboration with Danzas ASG for the transport of the films, and with Sydsvenska Dagbladet for the marketing. Gevalia was kind enough to sponsor delicious coffee. The projectionist, Hans Braman, really knows how to show film in 70mm, and the employees made it very cozy in the foyer for the intermissions. A wonderful time was had by all. We had visitors not only from much of Sweden, but also a loyal troop from Denmark. Furthermore we had visitors from England, Italy and the USA. Many elders, who haven't visited a movie theatre for maybe 20-30 years, have found their way back to the Royal. Some even brought their grandchildren to experience the grandiose 70mm format.

SF-BIO AB really has an opportunity to do something unique. The Royal features the biggest screen in Sweden and is one of the best movie theatres in the world. Also, the classics have experienced audience growth from year to year. In spite of all this SF's regional manager of south Sweden says: "We won't continue these because we don´t have any money for the marketing." But SF-BIO AB had never used any of their money for the marketing of the series.

Sydsvenska Dagbladet provided publicity in a very good and obviously fruitful way. Therefore, money that wasn't needed before, doesn't exist anymore. Hm??? We can hope that SF-BIO AB's Mr. Mĺns Engquist will "see the light" but for now, it seems be relegated to contemporary films only.
The Royal and three Danish 7OMM fans: Jan Niebuhr, Thomas Hauerslev and Alan Lyman. Picture by Thomas Hauerslev

I'd like to finish with a big and warm THANK YOU to: Sten Löfberg, Louis de Rochemont, Göran Stangertz, Anders Anderholm, Annika Christén, Arne Lindahl, Birgitta Titz, Bo Nyander, Christer Nilsson, Helle & Hans Braman, Inga Persson, Jonas Norén, Lars Löfberg, Lars Walldov, Martin Wadlund, Peter Andrén, Cloetta, Dagab, Danzas ASG, Gevalia, Gröna konsum, HB Arno, Iris Blomsterhandel, Malaco-Leaf, Malmö Musikteater, Punkt & Pixel Grafiska, Svenska Filminstitutet and Thomas Hauerslev & The 70mm Newsletter.

70mm Films Shown 1998 - 2001

"Doctor Zhivago"
"The Sound of Music"
"Funny Girl"
"That's Entertainment"
"It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"
"West Side Story"
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Updated 21-01-24