ROME – Hot on the heels of its boffo ratings bow for TV skein “Gomorra” Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Italia paybox is experimenting with innovative distribution patterns in Italy where “Gomorra” is now likely to screen in Italo movie theatres this summer, while Fox has just released Sky’s “Amore Oggi” romcom theatrically after it aired on pay-TV in February.
“Gomorra,” the naturalistic buzzed-about skein about the Neapolitan mob, recently picked up by The Weinstein Co., bowed Tuesday on Sky Atlantic in Italy to 680,000 viewers, way better than “House of Cards” and “Game of Thrones.”
Talks are now underway to release the twelve “Gomorra” episodes for marathon viewing in local movie theatres at the end of June, right when Italy goes into its customary summer box office blues mode as Italos hit the beach en-masse. Some U.S. summer blockbusters are held back and exhibitors can use product.
Meanwhile, on Thursday Fox released Sky’s low-budget Italo romcom “Amore Oggi” on 36 local screens after it performed on a par with Hollywood blockbusters in prime-time in February, marking the first time in Italy a movie goes out first on TV and then in movie theatres. It’s possibly also a first for Europe.
“The point is the industry has to evolve,” says Sky Italia exec vice president Andrea Scrosati. “This is more of a statement than anything else. The industry has to understand that you have to be willing to be creative and change.”
In an equally innovative reverse of the “Amore Oggi” model, Sky-produced docu “Quando c’era Berlinguer” (“When Berlinguer Was With Us”), about late Italo pol Enrico Berlinguer, who headed Western Europe’s largest Communist party, directed by former Rome mayor Walter Veltroni, was released in cinemas first via BIM Distribuzione on March 27. It has now pulled more than $1.1 million, which is not bad for a product that cost $400,000.
“That was another experiment,” says Scrosati. “Even if the order of release is the traditional one, the windowing is completely different.”
Usually the earliest a pic will go out in Italy on linear pay-TV is nine months after it theatrical release. In this case it will be on TV after a month and a half. And “Berlinguer” will go out on DVD in September.