Italians bid ‘Bye Bye’

Release plans for Berlusconi pic up in the air

Silvio Berlusconi is reluctantly exiting the prime minister’s office after losing Italy’s national elections. But will “Bye Bye Berlusconi!” ever play Italian cinemas?

The cheeky comedy, helmed by Germany’s Jan Henrik Stahlberg, was bought for Italian distribution by Rome-based indie Blu Cinematografica following its February bow in Berlin.

Since the pickup, though, Italo release plans for the pic, in which a dead ringer for the billionaire mogul is kidnapped by terrorists, have been shrouded in mystery.

“I had been assured by Blu in Berlin that my film would be released in Italy before the elections,” says Stahlberg. “Now I am told by the sales company that it will be coming out after the vote, but I still don’t know when,”

The disgruntled director laments that with Berlusconi no longer in power, the potential aud for “Bye Bye” is bound to wane.

That’s what happened to Nanni Moretti‘s Cannes-bound anti-Berlusconi satire “The Caiman,” which tumbled from No. 2 to No. 8 at the B.O. following the vote.

Stahlberg dismisses conspiracy theories swirling in some circles that Berlusconi himself indirectly acquired “Bye Bye” through Blu just to have it shelved and withheld from circulation.

One thing is sure, however: If “Bye Bye Berlusconi!” does make it to Italo screens, to avoid legal issues it will retitled “Buonanotte Topolino,” — Italian for “Good Night, Mickey Mouse.”

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