Italian box office revived thanks to promotion of national film week – The Hollywood Reporter

Italy’s version of National Cinema Day – a five-day event called Cinema in festa that offers discounted tickets to certain films in cinemas across the country – has proven a success. huge, with more than 1.1 million participants, grossing about $3.9 million (€4 million) in box office revenue. Compared to last week, that number represents a box office receipt of $2.1 million (€2.2 million).

Inspired by National Cinema Day in the US and UK, and similar cinema promotion events in France and Spain, Cinema of Italy is organized by the national audiovisual group ANICA together with the exhibition association ANEC with the support of the Italian Ministry of Culture and in cooperation with the Italian Film Academy. For a five-day period, September 18-22, tickets at participating cinemas are fixed at $3.40 (€3.50).

Discounts apply to combinations of new releases and reruns, with Universal’s hit animated feature Minions: The Rise of Gru and Gianni Amelio’s vernacular drama Lord of ants the most popular films in the event, along with the return of James Cameron Avatar (2009) grossed $336,000 (€347,000) in just one day.

ANEC Director General, Simone Gialdini, said: “Without a doubt, this has been a success. “The first few days went very smoothly considering the time of year and the films being screened.” Gialdini noted that, during promotion, Italian cinemas topped France, although France has “almost twice as many theaters as Italy”.

This is not the first Italian cinema in the festival. The country ran similar nationwide ticket sales promotions in 2018.

But this year’s event comes at a time when the Italian film industry is in the midst of a near-existent crisis. Box office revenue, ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, has yet to recover. While the Holiday Cinemas promotion accounted for hundreds of thousands of additional tickets sold, overall admissions were still down sharply from pre-pandemic figures, down 57% from the equivalent week in 2019.

Not all theater owners support this initiative. For instance, the PostModernissimo cinema in Perugia posted its objections on social media, explaining why they did not join the Cinema during the festival.

PostModernissimo director Giacomo Caldarelli said: “We celebrate cinema every day. “Personally, I don’t think these initiatives are necessary. We have discounts on Wednesdays, selling tickets for €4 with showtimes of original language titles. It’s always a great turnout day. In that case, the economic offer overlaps with the cultural offer. Discounting for the sake of discount doesn’t make any sense to us, so we’ve rejected it.”

If Italy really wants to help its struggling cinema owners, Caldarelli said, it should let exhibitors decide how and when to run promotions.

“In this case, even if more customers come in, the income will not increase accordingly,” he noted. “Will those attracted to discounts come back? Last time they didn’t… We can’t just chase our customers with discounts and subscriptions like streaming platforms. “

Caldarelli points to the example of France that has similar discount promotions but is more widely supported by the government.

“We, as theater owners, have benefited from government aid during the Covid emergency, however [now] we’re trying to give something back to our community, holding events and meetings, sometimes for free… reducing everything to a discount, without any editorial logic, is what we don’t agree. We want to lower prices when and how we want.”

Gialdini from ANEC said this year’s Cinema in festa’s main goal was to get people back into theaters after the pandemic, which he thinks the event has been a hit with. He also noted that the Italian government is doing more than just offering discounted tickets, pointing out that the state grants an additional 10 million euros to the Italian film industry. “[And] We are not going to stop there,” he noted.

Whatever else is to come, Cinema in festa will return in 2023. Gialdini said there will be two weeks of cinematic promotions next year, one in June and one in September, a week after the festival. Venice.

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