New cinema in Oslo marks end of monopoly in Norwegian capital

New cinema in Oslo marks end of monopoly in Norwegian capital
Oslo's Colosseum cinema. File photo: Berit Roald / NTB scanpix
100 years of cinema monopoly in Oslo have come to an end.

The opening of a new multiplex owned by the London-based multinational Odeon sees the end of a monopoly on cinemas that has been in place in Norway’s capital since 1918, reports broadcaster NRK.

That year, the city’s municipality decided, using a 1913 law, to take on the management of the many privately-owned cinemas in the city. The monopoly has existed ever since – until this week's opening of the new 14-screen Odeon complex in the Storo neighbourhood.

Odeon’s arrival in the city means that Nordisk Film, which took over the monopoly from the municipal Oslo Kino company in 2013, will have its first competitor.

Profits from the municipally-owned cinemas have, over the years, been of benefit for various cultural attractions in the city, notably the Munch Museum and the Vigeland sculpture installation in Frogner Park.

Gradual deregulation and liberalisation of the media sector eventually led to questions about the viability of continued municipal cinema ownership in the 1990s and early 2000s, NRK writes, with Norwegian and Swedish companies opening cinemas in other parts of the country.

The municipality in Oslo eventually stepped back in 2013, leading to two privately-owned cinemas now competing in Oslo for the first time in 100 years.

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