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Italo box office falls 10%

Weak Hollywood perf drags down admissions

ROME — Italian box offices grosses dropped 10% to $846 million in 2011 on ticket sales down 8% to 101 million, due largely to disaffection with Hollywood titles.

The U.S. share of the market plummeted from 60% in 2010 to 48% in 2011, earning $411 million.

Local pics performed better than they have in decades, earning $301 million from a 37% share of the market, up from 29% the previous year.

The remainder was generated by pics from other countries, with Blighty leading the way with $77 million.

“Italian cinema has become a major market driver,” said producer Riccardo Tozzi, who heads the country’s motion picture org, Anica, at a Rome presser, presenting the figures compiled by Cinetel.

Tozzi noted that, besides landing five Italo films in the top 12 — with Medusa’s “What a Beautiful Day” at the top — 2011 also saw an unprecedented 22 local pics pull more than €3 million ($3.8 million) locally, dispelling the “misconception” that growth was due to just a few smash hits.

As for Hollywood, exhibbers are upbeat that upcoming pics “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” “Moneyball” and “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” along with strong local product, will bring figures back on track in 2012.

“I think we can bring the market back up to at least 120 million admissions in 2012, on a par with record-breaking 2010,” said Carlo Bernaschi, prexy of multiplex exhib org ANEM.

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