ROME – Italy’s Leone Film Group, the company originally founded by spaghetti western master Sergio Leone, has forged an alliance with Rome’s Cinecittà Studios to jointly attract and provide executive production services to Hollywood productions lured by the country’s generous production incentives.
The pact envisions Leone group becoming a primary conduit for U.S. producers to the famed Cinecittà facilities. It comes on the heels of the current Rome shoot of Lionsgate’s Keanu Reeves-starrer “John Wick 2” that Leone, which has a longstanding relationship with Lionsgate, is servicing in tandem with Cinecittà.
Raffaella Leone, the group’s managing director, in a statement pointed out that the idea is for “John Wick 2” to be the first of more to come. “The agreement allows us to further leverage our privileged rapports with many American producers to bring to Italy more productions with increasingly higher budgets and greater artistic contents,” she said.
Leone’s heirs, who entered the Italo distribution arena in 2000, have output deals with Lionsgate and Dreamworks and close rapports with several U.S. indies, including The Weinstein Company.
Italy’s 25% tax breaks for international film productions are capped at around $11 million for each executive producer on a given production. They are deductible cash-back credits.
The Italian government in January raised available resources for film and TV production incentives by 21% to Euros 140 million ($153 million) in 2016. Aside from that they also streamlined the application process.
Cinecittà in 2015 served as executive producer on MGM and Paramount’s “Ben Hur” remake which was entirely shot in Italy.
Other high-profile international productions which tapped into Italy’s improved incentives last year include Paramount’s “Zoolander 2,” also shot entirely in Italy, and the latest Bond instalment “Spectre” and Ron Howard’s “Inferno,” both partly shot in the country. Cinecittà also recently hosted part of the production of Paolo Sorrentino’s high-profile English-language TV skein “The Young Pope” co-produced by Sky, Canal Plus and HBO and starring Jude Law and Diane Keaton.