Revenues drop but local production remains steady
by Camillo de Marco
25/11/2008 - It is difficult to match two golden years such as 2006 and 2007, considered a true "renaissance", but Italian production remained steady in 2008, despite a drop in box office and admissions announced by the National Statistics Office and SIAE at the beginning of November, and due also to an international recession.
According to data presented today by film industry leaders, the top 30 films of 2008 include seven Italian and 21 US titles, with one film each from the UK and Spain. The top two spots belong to the comedies Natale in Crociera [trailer] (distributed by Filmauro, €23.4m, 7.7m admissions) and Una Moglie Bellissima (Medusa), while the top 10 also includes Grande, grosso e... Verdone [trailer] (Filmauro), Scusa ma ti chiamo amore [trailer] (Medusa) and Gomorrah [trailer, film focus] (01). The latter, an auteur film and box office hit (€10m and 1,734,000 admissions), will be released in the US on December 19 by IFC .
Thus, despite the fact that from 2007, for the same periods of January-November, total box office revenues dropped 3.99% (or just -1.25% if the expected box office for December is included) and admissions decreased 4.11% (from 87.3m to 83.7m), Italian films grossed 25.54% (€126.8m) of the total box office and 26.03% (21.7m) of overall admissions compared to 26.92% and 26.96%, respectively, from the previous year.
"It’s wrong to speak of a crisis in cinema," said president of ANEC (National Association of Cinema Exhibitors) Paolo Protti, who stressed that ticket prices have remained unchanged since 2004 and that 98 screens were opened in 2008. "We should not accept government cuts in the film industry because it is a industry that is showing vitality and is a motor for development".
"Italian cinema has been on the rise since the beginning of the century,” said Riccardo Tozzi, president of ANICA producers, "and is characterised by a variety of offers.” However, there is a distribution programming problem between September and October, with three of the largest national festivals (Venice, Rome and Turin) taking place in those months. “There are too many arthouse films concentrated in the same period whereas in November there is then a return to more commercial titles. This penalises both the market and arthouse cinema."
(Translated from Italian)