What are the major innovations in theatrical marketing in Italy’

Stefano Massenzi, Lucky Red: There has been more attention to in-theatre promotion. Advertising has become extremely expensive and you try to go for your audience first and then if you have more money you build out. The internet has become very important especially for younger audiences. From Facebook to viral marketing to everything that is available.

Antonio Medici, BIM Distribuzione: The arrival of the new web technologies. Until a few years ago it wasn’t even there and now it is increasing and changing the way we work every time we release a movie.

Maria Grazia Vairo, Eagle Pictures: Films have less shelf life, and the competition is tougher. You have to do more to get noticed these days. Opening well is key, and that may mean spending more money for that awareness. Word of mouth is great, but you need to open well in order to be on screens long enough for word of mouth to work.

How is the internet transforming the way a film is marketed’

SM: It’s a further means of promotion but you need your traditional as well.

AM: Sometimes we prepare special materials as we did for Shortbus two years ago. We created an online game, which for us was completely new.

MGV: You can get the buzz going on a movie virally. However, the internet is more useful as a publicity tool than as paid advertising. I see it as a complement to your campaign or an alternative way to reach a specific audience if you don’t have a substantial budget.

Are distributors spending more or less on marketing than a few years ago’

SM: Unfortunately more because of competition. We are competing with big players and they spend a lot of money.

AM: More. The fact is that people only go to see some movies and concentrate more and more on a few titles.

MGV: More. In order to be competitive you have to be visible. To be visible, you have to be on TV and TV ads are expensive.

Is TV advertising still the most important element of a campaign’ If not, what is’

SM: Yes, you have to position it, but to get a mass audience it is the most important.

AM: It depends on the movie. What is for sure is it is the most expensive. I am not sure it is the most effective. For our type of movie I would say the most effective would be creating a network of people - to create some buzz on the film before it comes out.

MGV: For a commercial film, yes it is. With a smart TV campaign, you will get more gross ratings points than any other means used to market a film, including the internet, radio, or outdoor. Those means should be used to compliment a campaign, not be the heart of it.

What is the most important thing to know - and do - when releasing a film in your territory’

SM: Choose the date and build good materials based on the elements that can allow you to sell the movie successfully.

AM: To choose the right release date is very, very, important. A strategy we launched some years ago was to release films at the end of January because many of our films get Oscar nominations.

MGV: One of the most important things is defining your audience. You can spend less money for a targeted ad campaign and still have success if you know how and where to speak to the audience you want to reach. A great title and impressive visual materials will always be your calling card for a film, so it’s important that a lot of thought and effort go into that.

Which recent campaigns have impressed you’

SM: Of our own films, The Wrestler because we went for a double target audience. We used what was used in the US and other territories and positioned it as an arthouse film, the “Golden Lion winner”. Then we also built the campaign on the comeback, on the hero, “Rocky-style”. We concentrated on the character and it will probably (produce) one of the top results in the world.

AM: I believe we did a really good job with Persepolis. I think we got big results. The movie ended up doing $1.7m (EUR1.3m). For that kind of cartoon in Italy that is huge.

MGV: A small film that we really marketed well and tailored to Italian tastes was Easy Virtue (which is) an impossible title for Italy so it became Un Matrimonio All’Inglese, which translates to “An English Marriage”. The word ‘marriage’ in the title often works in Italy. We also changed the poster artwork and made a shorter trailer and even shorter TV spots that really worked. No one in the company was expecting it to do the numbers it did.

How will films be marketed 10 years from now’

AM: Now the web is 10% of the overall (marketing) budget and I believe in 10 years that new technologies will be 70%.

TOP 100, ITALY, 2008
 Title (Origin) DistributorUS$
1Natale A Rio (It) Filmauro$23.9m
2Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (US) UPI$23.6m
3Kung Fu Panda (US) UPI$23m
4I Am Legend (US) Warner Bros$18.8m
5Grande, Grosso E Verdone (It) Filmauro$17.5m
6Scusa Ma Ti Chiamo Amore (It) Medusa$17.1m
7Hancock (US) Spri$16.2m
8Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The … (US) UPI$15.5m
9Twilight (US) Eagle Pictures$15.4m
10Gomorrah (It) 01 Distribution$13.8m
11American Gangster (US) UPI$13.5m
12Il Cosmo Sul Como’ (It) Medusa$13.3m
13The Dark Knight (US) Warner Bros$12.8m
14High School Musical 3: Senior Year (US) Walt Disney Smpi$12.4m
15Mamma Mia! The Movie (US-UK) UPI$12m
16Wall-E (US) Walt Disney Smpi$11.8m
17The Kite Runner (US) Filmauro$11.1m
18The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian (US) Walt Disney Smpi$10.9m
19L’Allenatore Nel Pallone 2 (It) Medusa$10.4m
20Parlami D’Amore (It) 01 Distribution$10.1m
21La Fidanzata Di Papa’ (It) Medusa$9.7m
22Quantum Of Solace (US-UK) Spri$9.6m
23Iron Man (US) UPI$9.4m
24Sex And The City: The Movie (US) 01 Distribution$9.1m
25Burn After Reading (US) Medusa$8.3m
26Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Sp-US) Medusa$7.9m
27No Country For Old Men (US) UPI$7.8m
28The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon … (US) UPI$7.33m
29Quiet Chaos (It) 01 Distribution$7.3m
30Una Moglie Bellissima (It) Medusa$7.15m
3110,000 B.C. (US) Warner Bros$7.1m
32Changeling (US) UPI$7m
33Into The Wild (US) BIM$6.9m
34Bolt (US) Walt Disney Smpi$6.84m
35Un’Estate Al Mare (It) Medusa$6.8m
36Black And White (It) 01 Distribution$6.7m
37Il Divo (It) Lucky Red$6.2m
38Body Of Lies (US) Warner Bros$6.1m
39Cassandra’s Dream (UK) Filmauro$5.9m
40Natale In Crociera (It) Filmauro$5.6m
41The Day The Earth Stood Still (US) 20th Fox$5.43m
42The Incredible Hulk (US) Universal$5.4m
43Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber … (US) Warner Bros$5.33m
44Alvin And The Chipmunks (US) 20th Fox$5.3m
45Tutta La Vita Davanti (It) Medusa$5.28m
46Wanted (US) Universal$5.21m
47No Problem (It) Medusa$5.2m
48Step Up 2: The Streets (US) Moviemax$5.1m
49Rambo (US) Walt Disney Smpi$5m
50Nights In Rodanthe (US) Warner Bros$4.94m
51Tropic Thunder (US) UPI$4.93m
52National Treasure: Book Of … (US) Walt Disney Smpi$4.91m
53Asterix At The Olympic Games (Fr) Warner Bros$4.7m
54Giovanna’s Father (It) Medusa$4.6m
55Righteous Kill (US) 01 Distribution$4.5m
56What Happens In Vegas (US) 20th Fox$4.4m
57Questa Notte E’ Ancora … (It) Walt Disney Smpi$4.3m
58Cloverfield (US) UPI$4.1m
59A Perfect Day (It) 01 Distribution$4.08m
60Welcome To The Sticks (Fr) Medusa$4.06m
61Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead (US) Medusa$4m
62Hellboy II: The Golden Army (US) UPI$3.99m
63Next (US) Medusa$3.97m
64Lions For Lambs (US) 20th Fox$3.96m
65Superhero Movie (US) Medusa$3.9m
66Jumper (US) 20th Fox$3.8m
67Saw IV (US) 01 Distribution$3.77m
68You Don’t Mess With The Zohan (US) Spri$3.71m
69As God Commands (It) 01 Distribution$3.6m
70Babylon A.D. (Fr) Moviemax$3.58m
71Colpo D’Occhio (It) 01 Distribution$3.524m
72Nim’s Island (US) Moviemax$3.52m
73The Golden Compass (US) 01 Distribution$3.48m
7430 Days Of Night (US) Medusa$3.391m
7521 (US) Spri$3.39m
76The Happening (US) 20th Fox$3.3m
7727 Dresses (US) 20th Fox$3.29m
78Saw V (US) 01 Distribution$3.26m
79Meet The Spartans (US) 20th Fox$3.212m
80Bee Movie (US) UPI$3.21m
81Disaster Movie (US) Eagle Pictures$3.16m
82Halloween (US) Lucky Red$3.14m
83Leatherheads (US) UPI$3.12m
84Horton Hears A Who! (US) 20th Fox$3.1m
85Charlie Wilson’s War (US) UPI$2.98m
86The Spiderwick Chronicles (US) UPI$2.95m
87Solo Un Padre (It) Warner Bros$2.93m
88Mid-August Lunch (It) Fandango$2.84m
89Get Smart (US) Warner Bros$2.8m
90Juno (US) 20th Fox$2.7m
91The Bucket List (US) Warner Bros$2.53m
92Couscous (Fr) Lucky Red$2.51m
93Made Of Honor (US) Spri$2.36m
94La Seconda Volta Non Si Scorda Mai (It) Mikado$2.35m
95There Will Be Blood (US) Walt Disney Smpi$2.28m
96Love In The Time Of Cholera (US) 01 Distribution$2.27m
97Si Puo’ Fare (It) Warner Bros Italia$2.25m
98The Class (Fr) Mikado$2.22m
99Lust, Caution (US-Ch-Tai-HK) BIM$2.14m
100Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (US) Moviemax$2.1m
Source: Cinetel. Exchange rate EUR1 = $1.35