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Italy: Give us b’busters

'Terminator 3,' 'Tomb Raider 2' to open after August

ROME — Italy’s national exhib bodies ANEC and ANEM sent a letter of complaint to Motion Picture Assn. of America prexy Jack Valenti Friday to protest the lack of blockbusters heading to Italy this summer and demanding a meeting with him at next month’s Cannes Festival.

The exhibs fear they will drop behind record summer admissions figures for the past three years, and will be way behind European neighbors.

The letter, also addressed to the U.S. majors and Italo Culture Minister Giuliano Urbani, specifically disputes the summer releases of Hollywood blockbusters to France, Spain and Germany but not Italy. “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” “Tomb Raider 2” and “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” will not reach Italian screens until after August.

Quoting an increase of 144% in summer box office returns between 1999 and 2002, ANEC and ANEM say exhibs aren’t being given a fair chance for the 2003 summer season.

The letter states that the 2003 Italian summer season will be “characterized by few catchy titles, and many works that will not be strong enough to capture the public’s attention.”

“Italian exhibitors want the distributors to listen and to release big films at the same time as they do in the other European territories,” said ANEM prexy Carlo Bernaschi.

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