You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Italos get into ‘Family’ fight

Sorrentino pic causes stir with rival exhibs

Italo helmer Paolo Sorrentino’s loan-shark pic “The Family Friend,” which unspools here today in competition, has sparked a spat in Italy, peeving exhibitors and pitting rival local powerhouses Medusa and RAI Cinema.

Exhibs, hurting for summer pics, are angered that Medusa will not release “Friend” in Italy until the fall when screens will be crammed with Hollywood tentpoles “Miami Vice,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” and “Superman Returns.”

Italy is the only European country that won’t get the blockbusters day-and-date with the U.S. as distribs traditionally avoid the summer, when ticket sales can plunge as much as 50%.

Sorrentino says “Friend’s” delayed bow is inevitable because he’s been racing against the clock to complete the pic in time for Cannes.

But the helmer’s explanation is not playing well with exhibs. They claim the only way to counter the summer exodus is to entice moviegoers by offering more high-profile pics when temperatures start to soar.

“This is such a wasted opportunity for Italian cinema,” lashed out Paolo Protti, topper of Italo exhib body ANEC.

“Friend” is produced by Domenico Procacci’s Fandango with financing from Medusa.

Pic, about a wealthy but ugly 70-year-old money-lender, is expected to be Sorrentino’s most mainstream pic to date.

The helmer’s previous work, unconventional Mafia pic “The Consequences of Love,” was released before its Cannes bow in 2004 to lackluster returns.

Meanwhile, RAI Cinema — which is releasing eight titles this summer — has also stepped into the fray claiming it chose not to submit Emanuele Crialese’s “Respiro” followup “The Golden Door” for the Croisette competition as the helmer was scrambling to complete that pic, and would not have been able to promote it for a release right after the fest.

“It makes no sense for a film to go to Cannes and then not be released right afterwards. Italian cinema cannot be crushed between October and March,” lamented Luigi Lonigro, head of RAI Cinema’s O1 distribution arm.

More Film

  • Common, Lena Waithe

    Common, Lena Waithe Join AT&T Hello Lab's Filmmaker-Mentoring Program in Second Year

    Italo helmer Paolo Sorrentino’s loan-shark pic “The Family Friend,” which unspools here today in competition, has sparked a spat in Italy, peeving exhibitors and pitting rival local powerhouses Medusa and RAI Cinema. Exhibs, hurting for summer pics, are angered that Medusa will not release “Friend” in Italy until the fall when screens will be crammed […]

  • Sony Takes Premium Film1 Movies Service

    Sony Takes Premium Film1 Movies Service Direct To Consumer

    Italo helmer Paolo Sorrentino’s loan-shark pic “The Family Friend,” which unspools here today in competition, has sparked a spat in Italy, peeving exhibitors and pitting rival local powerhouses Medusa and RAI Cinema. Exhibs, hurting for summer pics, are angered that Medusa will not release “Friend” in Italy until the fall when screens will be crammed […]

  • Tim Robbins to Be Feted at

    Tim Robbins to Be Feted at Karlovy Vary Film Festival

    Italo helmer Paolo Sorrentino’s loan-shark pic “The Family Friend,” which unspools here today in competition, has sparked a spat in Italy, peeving exhibitors and pitting rival local powerhouses Medusa and RAI Cinema. Exhibs, hurting for summer pics, are angered that Medusa will not release “Friend” in Italy until the fall when screens will be crammed […]

  • BAFTA Details Diversity Requirements for 2019

    BAFTA Details Diversity Requirements for 2019 Film Awards

    Italo helmer Paolo Sorrentino’s loan-shark pic “The Family Friend,” which unspools here today in competition, has sparked a spat in Italy, peeving exhibitors and pitting rival local powerhouses Medusa and RAI Cinema. Exhibs, hurting for summer pics, are angered that Medusa will not release “Friend” in Italy until the fall when screens will be crammed […]

  • Wang Zhongjun Chinese movie mogul and

    Huayi Bros.’ Dennis Wang Makes Reassurances, Promises Stock Purchases

    Italo helmer Paolo Sorrentino’s loan-shark pic “The Family Friend,” which unspools here today in competition, has sparked a spat in Italy, peeving exhibitors and pitting rival local powerhouses Medusa and RAI Cinema. Exhibs, hurting for summer pics, are angered that Medusa will not release “Friend” in Italy until the fall when screens will be crammed […]

  • Tiffany Haddish

    MTV Movie and TV Awards: 10 Standout Moments

    Italo helmer Paolo Sorrentino’s loan-shark pic “The Family Friend,” which unspools here today in competition, has sparked a spat in Italy, peeving exhibitors and pitting rival local powerhouses Medusa and RAI Cinema. Exhibs, hurting for summer pics, are angered that Medusa will not release “Friend” in Italy until the fall when screens will be crammed […]

  • Michael B. Jordan

    'Black Panther,' 'Stranger Things' Reign at 2018 MTV Movie and TV Awards (Full List)

    Italo helmer Paolo Sorrentino’s loan-shark pic “The Family Friend,” which unspools here today in competition, has sparked a spat in Italy, peeving exhibitors and pitting rival local powerhouses Medusa and RAI Cinema. Exhibs, hurting for summer pics, are angered that Medusa will not release “Friend” in Italy until the fall when screens will be crammed […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content