Antonioni’s ‘Clouds’ In B.O. Heaven

“Beyond the Clouds,” octogenarian Michelangelo Antonioni’s return to feature filmmaking after 13 years, is one of the biggest national commercial successes of a half-century career.

Released Oct. 27 by Italo co-producer Cecchi Gori Group and on 85 screens, pic has grossed $3 million. Cecchi Gori Distribution reps predict close to $4 million by the end of the run.

Among this season’s national releases, only commercial powerhouse Carlo Vanzina’s comedy “Io No Spik Inglish” and “Cinema Paradiso” helmer Giuseppe Tornatore’s latest, “Star Man, ” have earned more, with B.O. tallies to date of $3.9 million and $3.5 million, respectively.

The success of “Clouds” – which consists of four episodes linked by a framing segment directed by Wim Wenders – has taken industryites by surprise, clocking up robust admissions in city and regional dates and pulling surprising numbers of young audiences.

Paris-based international sales agent Mercure Distribution has sold the film to 20 territories worldwide. U.S. rights are open, but the distrib reports high interest and is confident a sale will be made soon.

Antonioni is at the planning stage on his next project, “L’Aquilone” (The Kite). Written with Tonino Guerra, who also co-scripted “Beyond the Clouds, ” the film is an allegorical folk tale set in the Russian republic of Uzbekistan.

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