ITALO B.O. UP 10% IN ’96

Ticket sales up 7.05%, 140 screens OK'd for construction

ROME — While the Italian film sector’s aim to overtake the 100 million mark in annual ticket sales re-mains for now out of reach, an encouraging increase of 7.05% was posted in 1996. Film admissions for the year in the key cities totaled 96 million against 91.5 million in 1995, boosting national box office by just under 10%.

Also up was the number of screens in the country’s still-inadequate exhibition sector. The government’s department of entertainment reveals that official authorization was granted to build 140 new screens in 1996 against only 50 the previous year. In Rome, which has long been one of Italy’s most underscreened cities, the number underwent a 19% hike, up from 102 screens in 1995 to 124 at present.

Indicating the improvement as a signpost on the slow road to film-industry recovery, Italy’s deputy premier Walter Veltroni called a press conference Jan. 3 to recap the new government’s achievements in the entertainment and cultural sectors.

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