You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Films Distribution Takes ‘An Italian Name’

Berlin sales title remakes France’s 'What’s In A Name?'

French comedy has conquered continental Europe: Think “Welcome to the Sticks,” “The Intouchables,” “Serial (Bad) Weddings,” going forward, most likely “La Famille Belier.”

Now Italy is joining the charge. Having just announced its acquisition of world sales rights to Anne Fontaine’s WWII drama “Agnus Dei,” Paris-based sales company Films Distribution has added a second title to its building Berlinale slate: “Il Nome Del Figlio” (An Italian Name), from Francesca Archibugi, one of Italy’s best-known distaff directors with a now near 30-year-career (“Mignon Has Gone Away,” “Flying Lessons,” “A Question of the Heart”).

Films Distribution will start selling the movie at next week’s European Film Market (EFM).

Produced by Indiana Production and producer-distributor Lucky Red, a key company on Italy’s indie landscape, “Name” is an Italian makeover of French comedy breakout “What’s In a Name?” from Alexandre Patelliere and Mathieu Delaporte which grossed 3,34 million tjckets for Pathe Distribution in France, taking an around $25 million box office gross.

The Italian version stars Alessandro Gassman (“Quiet Chaos”) and Micaela Ramazzotti (“The First Beautiful Thing”) as his pregnant partner who invites around another couple, played by Valeria Golino (“Rain Man,” “Frida”) and Luigi Lo Cascio (“The Best of Youth”) plus an eccentric musician. Dinner conversation turns to the baby’s name that proves, unexpectedly, a highly explosive subject.

Opening for Andrea Occhipinti’s Lucky Red on 311 screens Jan.22, “An Italian Name” placed fifth in Italian box office rankings, grossing a respectable first weekend €1.1 million ($1.2 million), a running up the highest per-screen average – €3,592 ($4,023) – of the frame.

“With ‘An Italian Name,’ we are bringing back to the market

Italian comedy in its greatest tradition,” said Films Distribution co-founder Nicolas Brigaud-Robert. “The film is in the footsteps of De Sica’s or Dino Risi’s movies. It’s a true breath of fresh air. And we know our buyers are looking for lighter fare these days.”

Occhipinti and Indiana Production’s Fabrizio Donvito added: “Italian Cinema is finally taking back center stage worldwide, and we are very proud to share Film Distribution’s enthusiasm for the hilarious, sharp and sophisticated new Archibugi film, that deals with friendship, family, and conviviality, that is so Italian and universal at the same time.”

In international market terms, three years might seem a short time to follow up the original, sold abroad by Pathe. But 2010 comedy “Benvenuti al sud,” a remake of Dany Boon’s 2008 “Welcome to the Sticks,” not only put in a barnstorming performance in Italy, but sold abroad, grossing figures which would be very good by average art film standards, such as €1.45 million ($1.6 million) in Spain.

Nick Vivarelli contributed to this report

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Incitement

    'Incitement' Wins Ophir Award for Best Picture, Becomes Israel's Oscar Submission

    “Incitement” was the best-picture winner at Israel’s Ophir Awards on Sunday night, automatically becoming the country’s choice to vie for the international feature film Oscar. The winning film, a drama about the period leading up to the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish extremist in 1995, had its global premiere at [...]

  • LargoAI

    LargoAI Wins Inaugural San Sebastian Zinemaldia & Technology Startup Challenge

    SAN SEBASTIAN  —  Swiss artificial intelligence and data analytics company LargoAI won Sunday’s first-ever San Sebastian Film Festival Zinemaldia & Technology Startup Challenge. LargoAI’s software provides data-driven filmmaking strategies, similar to those used by major VOD platforms which aggregate and often horde their own user-driven data. From early in the screenwriting process through development and [...]


    FiGa Snags 'Contactado,' By The Team Behind San Sebastian Winner 'Pelo Malo' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sandro Fiorin’s FiGa Films has picked up worldwide sales rights to “Contactado,” the upcoming feature by Sudaca Films’ Marité Ugás and Mariana Rondón, the duo behind San Sebastian 2013 Golden Shell winner, “Pelo Malo.” The Sudaca partners are attending San Sebastian to pitch Rondón-helmed project “Zafari” at the 8th Europe-Latin American Co-production Forum. Directed by [...]

  • Brad Pitt stars in “Ad Astra”.

    'Ad Astra' Lifts Above Competition at International Box Office With $26 Million

    Though “Ad Astra” was overthrown by the Crawley family at the domestic box office, Brad Pitt’s astronaut drama reigned supreme at the international box office. Directed by James Gray, “Ad Astra” launched overseas with $26 million from 44 foreign markets. The $80 million sci-fi epic debuted in North America with $19.2 million, bringing global box [...]

  • hugh jackman tiff bad education

    Toronto's Biggest Deal Goes to HBO: A Sign of the Future? (Column)

    When it comes to how we’ll be watching movies — or, at least, watching serious dramas for adults — in the future, here are two stark and timely contradictory facts: 1. Last week, as the Toronto International Film Festival drew to a close, a deal that had been in the rumor stage for a while [...]

  • 'Talking About Trees' Helmer Suhaib Gasmelbari

    'Talking About Trees' Director Suhaib Gasmelbari Receives Variety MENA Award

    Suhaib Gasmelbari, whose Sudanese documentary “Talking About Trees” premiered in the Berlinale’s Panorama section, received the Variety Middle East and North Africa Region Talent Award Saturday at the El Gouna Film Festival in Egypt from festival director Intishal Al Timimi. Variety critic Jay Weissberg, who selected the honoree, said that it is not usual that [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content