Hollywood Takes on Italy’s Vacation-Heavy Summer Season With Blockbusters

Variety | 6/20/2019 | Nick Vivarelli
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With upcoming movies such as “Toy Story 4,” “Men in Black: International” and “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw,” Hollywood studios are finally taking the plunge this year and slotting their blockbusters in Italian cinemas during the summer, a time when residents traditionally hit the beach en masse.

For decades, the studios withheld their films from Italy in the summer season for fear of a dearth of cinema-goers, throwing the country’s release patterns out of kilter with the rest of Europe. The subsequent glut of movies during the rest of the year has turned Italy into a fast-burning market, with admissions plunging in 2018 to just shy of 86 million. It was the first time in 10 years that the number dropped below 90 million.

Hemorrhaging - Studios - Course - Releases - Months

To help stop the hemorrhaging, the studios are changing course. At least 10 big releases have been set for the months of May through August, including “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” (May 30), “X-Men” sequel “Dark Phoenix” (June 6) and “Spider-Man: Far From Home” (July 10). Luigi Lonigro, chief of Italy’s distributors association, calls the decision a “turning point.”

“We are the only evolved country in the world that wasn’t getting Hollywood summer blockbusters day-and-date,” Lonigro says.

Italians - Number - Titles - Cannes - Pedro

Italians have also gotten a number of titles straight from Cannes, such as Pedro Almodóvar’s “Pain and Glory,” followed by local auteur Marco Bellocchio’s “The Traitor” and Paramount’s Elton John biopic, “Rocketman,” which launched in Italy on May 29.

The real potential game changers for the Italian market are considered to be Universal’s “The Secret Life of Pets 2” and Disney’s “Toy Story 4,” both scheduled for June. Box office analyst Robert Bernocchi says that having “two animation blockbusters in the critical part of summer” in Italy is “the biggest novelty,” adding that, in his estimation, the performance of “Toy Story 4”...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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