Italo exhibs protest against ‘Reality’ delay

Cannes' Grand Prix winner to be released in September

ROME — While Italo helmer Matteo Garrone is being greeted with a hero’s welcome at home for scoring the Cannes Grand Prix with his “Reality,” local exhibitors are bemoaning that Italo auds won’t see the pic until September, claiming it won’t get full benefit from the buzz.

“Our satisfaction for Garrone’s victory makes the delay (in the release of “Reality”) all the more bitter and punishing,” Lionello Cerri, head of Italy’s exhibitors’ org., ANEC, lamented in a scathing statement.

Cerri is claiming that an immediate release of Garrone’s fable-like drama, about a fishmonger obsessed with being on “Big Brother,” in Italy’s currently uncrowded pre-summer release schedule would have given “Reality” a more lucrative long run, just like Garrone’s “Gomorrah,” which pulled a staggering $13.4 million locally right after winning the Grand Prix in Cannes in 2008.

Instead, Garrone’s latest is slotted for release by 01 Distribuzione for a post-Venice Sept. 28 slot, a period which will undoubtedly be more crowded, given the glut of product that always accumulates during summer in Italy, a tendency local exhibbers are trying to fight.

There was no comment from either 01 Distribuzione or producer Domenico Procacci, whose Fandango co-produced “Reality” with Jean Labadie of Gaul’s Le Pacte.

Oscilloscope Laboratories, which acquired U.S. rights to “Reality” in Cannes ahead of the prizewinning ceremony, has said it will take the film to further festivals this fall with a theatrical, DVD and digital release to follow early next year.

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