×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Italy

Hot U.S. indies blast cold summer B.O.

ROME — Italy’s box office so far this year is buoyant compared to last year’s period, with Hollywood blockbusters dominating as always, some hot U.S. indie titles scoring mightily via local distribs, and local product gobbling up 20% of the pie.

Despite a particularly dud summer, Italian B.O. is up 14% to S395 million ($488 million), according to national tracker Cinetel, which monitors some 75% of the country’s screens.

But while the numbers look good, Italy still underperforms compared to its European neighbors. And the bulk of its box office goes to a handful of films. Top titles were “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” released by Medusa, and “The Passion of the Christ,” which went out via Eagle Pictures.

Aside from Medusa and Eagle, local distribs doing well with U.S. pics include BIM, which scored more than $10 million with “Fahrenheit 9/11” and fared nicely with “21 Grams” and “The Motorcycle Diaries,” and Nexo, which did brisk biz with “Monster” and “In the Cut.”

In addition to crossover arthouse movies, horror and teen pics seem to be clicking in Italy, where “Scary Movie 3” scored more than $10 million.

Whereas homevideo is very healthy at the moment — with numbers up greatly on both sell-through and rentals — the climate for TV rights remains rough, despite the arrival last year of Murdoch’s Sky Italia.

“The TV market is still very difficult. Free TV tends not to pre-buy, and with only one platform, pay TV isn’t as strong as it should be,” says Clare Mcardle, head of acquisitions for indie distrib IIF, which picked up “Mona Lisa Smile” at last year’s AFM.

“This year we’re looking to acquire a big-budget movie with a very strong cast, suitable for a Christmas release, along with a couple of medium-budget films with an appealing cast and story line,” says Mcardle.

Italy at a glance

B.O.: $488 million*
Top title: “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (Medusa, $28 million)
Recent pickups:
“Aeon Flux” (Rai Cinema)
“Combien tu gagnes?” (BIM)
“Le Grand Voyage” (Luce)
“Hostage” (Medusa)
“Tarnation” (Mikado)

Titles at AFM
The House Keys: Gianni Amelio’s drama about a young father coming to terms with his handicapped son, has been doing boffo B.O. in Italy, after its disappointing Venice debut. Italy’s Oscar submission stars Kim Rossi Stewart and Charlotte Rampling. (Lakeshore Intl.)
The Consequences of Love: Tyro helmer Paolo Sorrentino’s stylishly surreal pic about an accountant for the mob who becomes romantically entangled with a barmaid, was Italy’s only Cannes entry this year. Stars vet stage thesp Toni Servillo and Olivia Magnani. (The Works)
Quando sei nato non puoi piu nasconderti (Once You’re Born You Just Can’t Hide): is Marco Tullio Giordana’s latest pic. Coming-of-ager, currently shooting, is steeped in the reality of contempo multiracial Italy, starring Alessio Boni and Manuela Cescon. (Capitol Films)

*through September 2004

More Scene

  • Dylan O'Brien, Justin Theroux, Angela Bassett,

    Travis Knight on Getting the Call to Direct ‘Bumblebee’: ‘Did You Guys Get The Right Number?’

    “Bumblebee” director Travis Knight admits he couldn’t believe it when Paramount Studios and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura called him two years ago, asking him to helm the upcoming “Transformers” movie. “My initial question was, ‘Did you guys get the right number?'” Knight joked at Sunday’s premiere of “Bumblebee” at the Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. “You’ve seen [...]

  • Director Peter JacksonWarner Bros. Pictures THEY

    Peter Jackson Talks Transition From 'Hobbit' Movies to World War I Documentary

    Peter Jackson remains a bit astounded at his transition four years ago from the Shire of Middle Earth to the French battlefields of World War I. Jackson introduced his documentary “They Shall Not Grow Old” Friday night at the Linwood Dunn Theatre in Hollywood, four weeks after it aired on Armistice Day on the BBC. [...]

  • Hillary Clinton'Network' play opening night, New

    Hillary Clinton Attends Opening of Broadway's 'Network'

    A 1976 film might not be expected to translate seamlessly to Broadway in 2018, but for the cast and creative team behind “Network,” which premiered Thursday night with Hillary Clinton in the audience, the story still feels uncomfortably close to home. “It was a satire then, and now it’s documentary realism,” said Lee Hall, who [...]

  • Children's Defense Fund

    Angela Bassett, Conan O'Brien Honor Young Students at Children's Defense Fund Gala

    Awards season may be right around the corner, but on Thursday, Hollywood took a break from the glitz and glam to celebrate five high school students who have excelled academically despite facing extreme adversity both at home and in the classroom. The 29th annual Beat the Odds Awards ceremony at the Skirball Cultural Center featured [...]

  • Dolly Parton attends the world premiere

    Dolly Parton Hopes to Perform 'Dumplin'' Song at the Golden Globes

    It’s not easy to upstage Jennifer Aniston. But everyone at Thursday night’s premiere of her new Netflix flick, “Dumplin’,” seemed to be singing the praises of Dolly Parton, who earlier in the day received a Golden Globe nomination for “Girl in the Movies,” one of half a dozen new songs she wrote for the film. [...]

  • Lena WaitheVariety's Power of Women, Arrivals,

    Who Lena Waithe Thinks Should Replace Kevin Hart as Oscar Host

    Lena Waithe thinks Kevin Hart could have handled his Oscar debacle in a much better way. “I kind of wish that he would have taken a moment to let it be a teachable moment and to say, ‘Hey, what I said wasn’t right and I want to make that right,’ not just to keep the [...]

  • Christie Brinkley32nd Annual Footwear News Achievement

    Christie Brinkley at 64: 'Women My Age Cannot Allow the Numbers to Define Them'

    Christie Brinkley may be turning 65 next year, but don’t you dare try to tell her what she should — or shouldn’t — wear. “I think women my age cannot allow the numbers to define them. We need to constantly redefine the number,” Brinkley told Variety on Tuesday at the Footwear News Achievement Awards in New [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content