Second installment will send Italians to the North for comedy

Italy is getting hit by the “Sticks” again.

The country is so galvanized by “Benvenuti al Sud,” the local remake of Gallic megahit “Welcome to the Sticks,” that producer Medusa has just announced a second Italo “Sticks” redo and relocation — “Benvenuti al Nord.”

Since its Oct. 1 release, “Benvenuti al Sud” (see review, page 40) has already become one of the year’s top Italo grossers, scoring north of $24 million and counting.

Helmed by native Neapolitan Luca Miniero, the hit Italo “Sticks” remake is set in the country’s underdeveloped South, where a post office manager from prosperous northern Italy is forced to relocate.

Now Miniero, who himself went north to Milan as young man, will also helm “Benvenuti al Nord,” in which an Italian Southerner “full of prejudices is sent to a region in Italy’s deep north,” he says.

The north-south divide has always been integral to internal Italian prejudices, as either part of the country can be seen by someone rooted in the other as “the sticks,” even though the north is wealthier.

The Gallic original, about a postal worker banished from balmy Southern France to the rainy North, marked a European box office phenom.

But even the first Italo remake now looks set to do some crossborder biz. Gaul’s Pathe will soon release “Benvenuti al Sud” in France and has sold it to Spain, Germany and Russia, among other territories. Medusa’s “Nord” is produced with Cattleya and Constantin.

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