Italian director Gabriele Muccino's new film, Remember Me (Ricordati di Me), has grossed a massive $6.8m since its release on February 14th - placing it well on the path to local blockbuster glory.

The bitter-sweet drama stars Son's Room actress Laura Morante, Fabrizio Bentivoglio (Teeth), emerging actress Nicoletta Romanov and Muccino's younger brother Silvio as a middle-class family each of whose members dream of fame and riches.

Playing on a huge 450 screens, the Medusa film remained at the number one slot at the box office for the second week running, and looks set to overtake the earnings of Muccino's last hit, The Last Kiss, which grossed a huge $10m in 2001.

Remember Me outperformed competition both from Buena Vista's Chicago, which opened in third place at the weekend with a gross of $1.5m and UIP's The Ring, which came in second with $2m and a bullish screen average of $9,200.

Since the beginning of the year, a handful of local pictures have been performing exceptionally well at the Italian box office.

Warner Bros Italia has enjoyed considerable success with Carlo Verdone's Ma Che Colpa Abbiamo Noi - which also represents one of the major's first forays into local language production.

The bittersweet drama, about a group of therapy patients who are left to their own devices after their therapist dies in the middle of one of their sessions, has grossed an impressive $6.1m since its release on January 10th. (Warner's first-ever Italian local language film, Febbre Da Cavallo - La Mandrakata, the sequel to a cult 1970s comedy, grossed $4.7m after its release in October).

Meanwhile, Roberto Faenza's arthouse film, The Soul Keeper (Prendimi l'Anima), about Jung's psychoanalysis patient and lover Sabina Spielrein, has proved to be the season's first surprise hit: The Medusa picture has grossed a huge $3.4m since its mid-January release.

Also performing well is Pupi Avati's Il Cuore Altrove, which focuses on the love affair between a 35-year-old man and a blind young girl, and has earned $1.4m one month after its release.

Upcoming anticipated local pictures include Gabriele Salvatores's Berlin hit I'm Not Scared, and Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers.

In the meantime, Medusa has decided to re-release Emanuele Crialese's critically-acclaimed Respiro - hot on the heels of its hugely successful run in France ($2.4m in seven weeks) and almost one year after its original release in Italy.

When the film was released in Italy last year, it grossed a hugely disappointing $360,000 - possibly due to its end-of-season May 22rd release date and competition from summer blockbuster Spiderman. Medusa will now re-release the film on March 22nd.