Istituto Luce profits flex on plex bows, higher revs

Net earnings rise to $2.5 mil from $800K

MILAN — Italy’s state-owned Istituto Luce saw an increase of net earnings and revenues during its 1998 fiscal year, it revealed Monday.

The Cinecitta Holdings Istituto Luce group — which launched multiplexes throughout Italy last year and co-produced Italy’s sole Cannes competition entry, Marco Bellocchio’s “The Nanny” — reported net earnings rose to 4.5 billion lira ($2.5 million) in 1998, from $800,000 a year earlier, while sales went up to $22 million from $17 million. In 1999, the company expects profits to increase to $7 million.

“It is a good result for a company with a reputation for financial loss, and which co-produces and distributes only European films in a market dominated by U.S. product,” Istituto Luce president Angelo Guglielmi said.

Apart from “The Nanny,” the group will bring seven European movies to Cannes as a co-producer. Recently, it joined forces with distributors Mikado and Bim to distribute movies to several theaters and multiplexes in Italy.

“We are building a multiplex in Fiano Romano, north of Rome, and in northern Italy we will launch a 12-screen site in Padova, a multiplex in Udine, and a third multiscreen site near Florence,” Guglielmi said.