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LEGISLATION Italy

Window decree in Italy: cinemas get priority

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- Italy waves goodbye to day-and-date releases, while national audiovisual productions have up to 105 days to be submitted to receive legally-recognised benefits

Window decree in Italy: cinemas get priority

The Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities, Alberto Bonisoli signed a decree yesterday establishing new window regulations. Italian films can only be made available on various platforms after being released in cinemas. "It is important to ensure that the people running cinemas are comfortable scheduling films without them also being available simultaneously on other platforms, therefore allowing owners to take full advantage of investments in order to improve cinemas and make them increasingly capable of providing unique experiences."

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The implementation decree of the Italian law on cinema (No. 220 of 2016) establishes a term of 105 days for Italian audiovisual projects to be submitted for legally-recognised benefits (tax credits).  The term is reduced to ten days if the project is only scheduled to be screened for three (or less) working days, excluding Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and 60 days if the film is scheduled to be screened in less than eighty cinemas and has obtained less than 50,000 viewer admissions after the first twenty-one days of programming. A reduction in the length of the term is only permitted during the scheduling phase if no launch or promotion activities are carried out on the film’s subsequent availability via audiovisual media service suppliers.

In practice, the decree only serves to legally implement what has been consolidated practice up until this point, but became a talking point following the day-and-date release of the Italian film produced by Netflix, On My Skin [+see also:
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, back in September, which was simultaneously out in cinemas and available on the North American streaming platform. Exhibitor associations firmly contested the situation at the time. Today the ANEM (National Association of Multiplex Exhibitors) expressed its satisfaction: "An excellent provision that establishes the importance of cinemas," says President Carlo Bernaschi, "and allows films, which don't have the structure to compete with the market, to benefit from a reduced window." Adding: "I don’t think the UCI or The Space, which, due to international policies, are bound to 105 days for all released films, will have any objections, as films that don’t reach certain admissions levels aren’t included in their programmes."

The ANAC (authors association) stated that "with the signing of the decree stating that films should be screened in cinemas as a priority, there seems to be a willingness to lay precise boundaries in the name of a system that is based, consistently and legally, on the importance of cinemas." According to ANAC, the effects on cinema attendance should be monitored, but the fact is that cinema screenings will be given priority with this new Italian law. "With this decree, Italy is still not quite able to match the system in place in France but is nevertheless catching up with other European legislation."

(Translated from Italian)

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