Medusa’s 2010-11 line-up spans comedy to arthouse
by Gabriele Barcaro
06/07/2010 - "For the next season, we are offering a varied, diverse line-up,” said Giampaolo Letta, managing director of Medusa Film, during the presentation of the 2010-11 slate, which includes comedies and arthouse films from Italy and beyond.
In the last year, the film arm of the Mediaset group has established itself as the market leader in Italy. The figures speak for themselves: from December 1, 2009 through today, in box office it is second only to 20th Century Fox (€72m against the €80m of the US major behind Avatar [trailer]), but in first place in admissions (11.5 million).
Strong from such a large market share, Medusa, according to company president Carlo Rossella, "demonstrates a continuous commitment based on optimism”. This optimism translates into €90m invested in production and acquisitions, of which €70m for Italian cinema. "We continue to be the country’s main investors", adds Letta. The remaining €20m are for international, especially American, films.
To boot there are the costs of traditional and non-traditional marketing – "In the last two years, the allocation of advertising funds has changed significantly, and has opened to new technologies, from the web to the iPad" – of €40m, and the cost of prints (€7-8m for Italian films alone).
The key to the upcoming slate is internationalisation. Says Letta: "Medusa continues to produce with European partners, as it did recently with Pope Joan [trailer], and is opening up to the United States with Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere”. But the company’s most anticipated international co-production is without a doubt Paolo Sorrentino’s first English-language film, This Must Be The Place. The €28m picture starring Oscar winners Sean Penn and Frances McDormand is being made with Indigo Film, Lucky Red, France’s ARP and Element Pictures of Ireland.
Another interesting title is Benvenuti al sud (“Welcome to the South”, to be released October 8). Luca Miniero’s Italian remake of French box office champion Welcome to the Shticks [trailer] was co-produced with German financing and – in a rare move – will also be released in France.
In terms of domestic films, there is great interest surrounding Saverio Costanzo’s The Solitude of Prime Numbers, based on the Strega Prize-winning novel of the same name, which may premiere at Venice. Then there are the numerous comedies, the first of which, La Polinesia è sotto casa by Saverio Smeriglio and Andrea Goroni, will come out August 27; followed by Ugo Fabrizio Giordani’s Sharm el Sheikh (September 17).
Which brings the company to the most profitable period of the Italian film season, Christmas, which kicks off November 26 with Paolo Costella’s A Natale mi sposo (starring Massimo Boldi and Vincenzo Salemme). However, all box office expectations are on La banda dei babbi natale (“The Gang of Santa Clauses”), featuring comic trio Aldo, Giovanni and Giacomo (December 17). The holiday season ends January 5, with the release of Ma che bella giornata, which after the success of Cado dalle nubi [trailer], marks the return to the big screen of stand-up comic Checco Zalone.
Other Italian titles include two ensemble films: on March 4, 2011 comes Immaturi by Paolo Genovese (also the director of La banda dei babbi Natale); preceded on Valentine’s Day by Fausto Brizzi’s Femmine contro maschi (“Women Versus Men”), which is being shot along with the other half of the dytpich, Maschi contro femmine (“Men Versus Women”). Brizzi will also go into production, in mid-2011, on Sex, the second 3D Italian film by Medusa, following the animated Winx Club 3D: Magic Adventure by Iginio Straffi (out on October 29).
The numerous international titles include Luc Besson and The Extraordinary Adventures of Miss Adele Blanc-Sec [trailer]; Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger [trailer]; and Richard Loncraine’s The Special Relationship, in which Michael Sheen once again plays Tony Blair, after The Queen [trailer, film focus].
(Translated from Italian)