Italy Bucks Europe’s Downward 2013 Box Office Trend

Hollywood market share remained stable, while local laffer "Sole a catinelle" scored record-breaking returns

Italian comic checcho zalone

ROME — Bucking most of Europe’s downward box office trend, Italy’s box office in 2013 saw a 6 percent year-on-year rise in admissions to 97 million, and a 1.5 percent increase in grosses to $840 million, with Hollywood product accounting for a 53 percent piece of the Italo pie, exactly the same market share as in 2012.

The discrepancy between the percentage increase in admissions and grosses is due to a reduction in the country’s movie ticket prices this past year compared with 2012, which proved to be a smart move.

“We are among the few countries in Europe who are experiencing a positive time,” said Andrea Occhipinti, topper of prominent Italo distribbery Lucky Red and head of the country’s distributors, as the figures were announced at the Rome headquarters of motion picture association ANICA on Wednesday.

Occhipinti also proudly pointed out that Italian movies account for a roughly 30 percent share of the 2013 home box office. The only other European country commanding a comparable domestic market figure is France where local movies accounted for a slightly higher 33.3 percent share last year. 

Significantly, seven Italo pics were among the top twenty at the local box office. The top performer was smash hit laffer “Sole a Catinelle” (which can be translated as “The Sun is Shining Cats and Dogs”). Produced by Pietro Valsecchi, pic riffs on the country’s deep recession and has become a mega box office phenom, pulling in a whopping more than $70 million via distributor Medusa, a take second only to “Avatar” in Italy. Without “Sun” (pictured) Italy’s 2013 box office would have looked a lot darker.

Top Hollywood titles in Italy were “Despicable Me 2,” which came in at number two, “Iron Man 3,” at number four, and “Fast And The Furious 6,” at number five.

Warner Bros was Italy’s top distributor in 2013 with a roughly 20 percent market share worth $170 million.

ANICA prexy Riccardo Tozzi cautioned that Italy continues to perform way below its potential in terms of overall grosses, one big structural stumbling block still being a scarsity of releases in summer which creates a glut of product during the rest of the year.