Italian total gross falls 10%

ROME — Hollywood movies are losing traction at the Italo box office, where total admissions are down 8% to 86.8 million in 2011 to date, with local movies soaring to 38% of the market, touted as the highest homegrown share in the Western world.

Hollywood’s once mighty market share at the Italo box office instead has dropped to 48% between January and Nov. 20 in 2011, in terms of admissions, compared with a 60% portion during the same period in 2010.

The Italian box office this year so far is worth a total $756 million, a 10% drop compared with 2010.

“These figures confirm pretty strongly that the ongoing rise and rebirth of Italian cinema continues,” said Riccardo Tozzi, head of Italo motion picture association ANICA.

“By year’s end we may even hit 40%, which is an extraordinary result, better than France, unique in the Western world,” he boasted.

While admissions for Italian movies rose by 6 million to 33 million, ticket sales for Hollywood movies dropped by almost 16 million to 57 million.

“The amazing success of Italian cinema cannot compensate the 10 million ticket drop from American movies,” noted Filippo Roviglioni, head of Italy’s distributors.

As to why Yank pics are failing to click in Italy, consensus is that Hollywood is targeting youth masses in emerging markets with films that can carry losses in European countries, and especially Italy, which has an older demographic.

“Hollywood made the movies they wanted to make, which work in the global marketplace, but not everywhere. Italy is the most evident example of this,” said Tozzi.

There are nine Italian pics, all comedies, in the top 20, lead by Medusa’s “Che Bella Giornata” (What a Beautiful Day), a mildly politically incorrect Islamic-terrorism-themed laffer, starring TV comic Checco Zalone as a Milan security guard with the hots for a sexy Arab who’s an aspiring terrorist. It pulled a whopping $57 million, almost double “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2,” which came in at number two.

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