Battered by the economic crisis, European soccer and a scarcity of strong product, Italy’s summer box office take plunged 36% to €87 million ($109 million) between May 1 and Aug. 19, on admissions down 33.6% to 13.4 million compared with last year.

The summer cinemagoing drop exacerbated an ongoing trend.

As a whole, Italy’s B.O. take is down 16% since the start of 2012, while ticket sales are down 18%, according to national box office compiler Cinetel, which did not provide numeric figures for the full year.

However, there is hope Italians will come out of the moviegoing rut, starting with Venice and the arrival of the cooler fall along with some hot titles.

Lionello Cerri, head of Italy’s exhibs, was upbeat about the strong perf of “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted,” which has pulled in $9.2 million since its local release Aug. 22 via Universal.

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Industryites at Venice are keen for the Lido and the Rome Film Festival in November, to generate buzz for a string of potentially strong releases that could boost B.O. for the rest of the year.