Local pix draw auds as admissions rise

ROME — As the temperature continues to rise in Italy and theater-owners resign themselves to the customary summertime slump in trading, encouraging preliminary figures have been released for the box office season currently drawing to a close.

According to national B.O. monitoring service Cinetel, admissions in the key cities rose by 4.6% and receipts by 6.1% this season, which runs from September through late June.

The most substantial increase was registered in the January-April period this year, when the successful state-sponsored cut-price ticket promotion was introduced at weekday afternoon sessions. Admissions and grosses both climbed by 8.8%.

The market share for Italian productions and co-productions also showed a significant hike, increasing from 24% to 26.6%. During the January-April period, the Italian share swelled to over 30%, due largely to the performance of powerhouse comedy “The Cyclone.”

Up to mid-June, a total of 293 films had been released in Italy this season, 71 of which were Italian productions or co-productions involving Italy. The 142 U.S. titles released account for 56.7% of national admissions.

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