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ROME – Spike Jonze’s “Her” has bowed boffo in Italy, scoring the country’s top per screen average this weekend in a rare release that combined an Italian-language version, dubbed by local star Micaela Ramazzotti, and the original, voiced by Scarlett Johansson, circulated wider than any other original language film on the Italian market in recent memory.

Johansson last year scooped the Rome Film Festival’s best actress prize for her strictly vocal role as a computer operating system in “Her.” Johansson’s acting nod is among considerations that prompted the pic’s Italian distributor, BIM Distribuzione, to go wider then ever with “Her” in the original. In Italy dubbed versions of American films dominate the market, even on the arthouse circuit.

All told, “Her” grossed $707,000 from 170 screens in Italy, for a more than $4,100 per-screen take in the weekend frame and scored 78,350 admissions, coming in fifth. About sixty Italo movie theatres – more than one third of total venues where it plays – are showing the Spike Jonze pic, winner of the Best Original Screenplay Oscar, in English, even though these original version screenings are often staggered with the dubbed version.

“We made a big effort to make the original version much more available than usual, and we are happy with the overall results,” says BIM general manager Antonio Medici.

Medici also points out that he spoke with Jonze last year in Toronto about choosing a specific voice talent for the dubded version of “Her.”  

“We wanted an actress that in the Italian imagination could have a similar place as Scarlett Johannson,” he said. 

Ramazzotti, who is blonde, is an Italo A-lister known for turns in Paolo Virzi’s “The First Beautiful Thing,” Daniele Luchetti’s “Those Happy Years,” and Carlo Verdone’s hit laffer “Posti in Piedi in Paradiso.” 

Italy is the first major European territory to release “Her,” which Wild Bunch will release in France on March 19 in original version only.

 

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