ROME – Italy’s RAI Cinema is having a banner year, commanding a 15% box office share for the first half of 2014, which makes pubcaster RAI’s film unit the number two Italian distributor after Warner Bros. However Hollywood titles continue to be a low priority, said topper Paolo Del Brocco, unveiling its lineup Wednesday in Rome.
Del Brocco said the Italo film distribution and production powerhouse will be investing some Euros 60 million ($81 million) in Italian productions in 2014, whereas only 4 or 5 million Euros are earmarked for international acquisitions.
That said, RAI Cinema remains an active buyer. In Cannes they picked up Italo rights for Tom Hardy gangster pic “Legend,” to be helmed by Brian Helgeland, produced by Working Title and financed by Studio Canal, which is selling. RAI also has another Studio Canal pic, Sean Penn starrer “The Gunman,” an action thriller helmed by Pierre Morel. And in Cannes they also inked with Wild Bunch for “The Search,” by Michel Hazanavicius.
As for Hollywood fare, RAI Cinema’s 01 Distribution unit will be releasing “Dumb and Dumber 2,” but only as a service distribution deal with growing Italo shingle Leone Film Group. RAI Cinema will also be releasing Gabriele Muccino’s Russell Crowe-starrer “Fathers and Daughters,” produced by Voltage and co-financed by Leone group.
On the Italian side, the RAI Cinema lineup comprises new works by Nanni Moretti, whose “My Mother,” starring John Turturro and Margherita Buy, is in post; Mario Martone’s biopic of poet Giacomo Leopardi, “Il Giovane Favoloso,” which is tipped for Venice; and “The Invisible Boy” (pictured) by Gabriele Salvatores, a promising superhero pic done with European flair about a 13-year-old boy whose growing pains prompt supernatural powers. It will get a Christmas release. “The Invisible Boy” is produced by “The Great Beauty” producers Francesca Cima and Nicola Giuliano.
As for co-productions, RAI Cinema is a major backer of Matteo Garrone’s English-language fantasy/horror “The Tale of Tales,” toplining Salma Hayek and Vincent Cassel which is currently shooting, co-produced by Garrone’s Archimede, France’s Jean Labadie (Le Pact) and Jeremy Thomas’ Recorded Picture Company. Del Brocco said he has high hopes for this bold period genre pic which marks the first English-language foray for Garrone, best known internationally for “Gomorra,” and also the Italo auteur’s first supernatural work.