The ongoing overhaul of Rome’s Cinecittà Studios is getting traction thanks to booming demand from international productions just as the number of sound stages increase, prompting realistic prospects of turning a profit by end of 2022, which is a year earlier than planned.
Cinecittà has been undergoing a radical revamp devised by CEO Nicola Maccanico since June 2021, when European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and Italian premier Mario Draghi (pictured above at Cinecittà) jointly visited the iconic studio lot and held a press conference in its vast Studio 5 — known as the late, great filmmaker Federico Fellini’s second home — to announce a €300 million ($300 million) investment to meet the growing international demand for studio space,
Maccanico, a former Warner Bros. and Sky Italia senior exec, said Cinecittà is now operating at full capacity and booked up through mid 2023. This is largely due having lured international productions such as Vatican thriller “Conclave,” directed by Edward Berger and toplining Ralph Fiennes and Stanley Tucci, produced by FilmNation Entertainment; and Angelina Jolie-directed drama “Without Blood,” starring Salma Hayek, which was the first to use the facility’s spanking new T18 virtual production stage with a giant LED wall.
“Without Blood” shot at Cinecittà as part of the studios’ overall five-year service deal with Fremantle under which Joe Wright-directed high-end TV series “M,” chronicling Benito Mussolini’s rise to power, will also soon starting shooting there.
Cinecittà, which has full-service facilities, including editing suites, sound mix, and 35mm film processing, has also been benefitting from Italy’s generous 40% tax rebate, which was raised from 30% during the pandemic.
“Italy is now a well-established shooting destination and Cinecittà is becoming more of a magnet thanks to its current efficiency,” Maccanico said.
International productions currently account for 70% of the studio’s occupancy with Maccanico in expansion mode to meet growing demand.
“Today we have 18,000 square meters (193,000 square feet) of stage space and the short-term goal is to reach 30,000 square meters,” noted Maccanico who is in the process of adding five new sound stages on the Cinecittà lot, raising the number from 19 to 24.
The Cinecittà chief noted that the second phase of his planned expansion is also going forward following the preliminary agreement he signed in December 2021 with state bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti to acquire a plot of land adjacent to the Rome filming facilities. This land will give Cinecittà space to roughly triple its backlot and build eight new sound stages that will raise the total number to 32.
Meanwhile, to help meet growing demand Cinecittà recently signed a six-year deal with Rome’s Lumina Studios which has four sound stages situated on the north side of the Italian capital that can fill the gap while new sound stages are being built on site.
The goal, when Cinecittà’s expansion is completed, is to become the largest studio space in Europe and also gain a competitive edge against other prominent European facilities such as Germany’s Studio Babelsberg, Hungary’s Origo Studios, and Nu Boyana in Bulgaria.