The Italian box office is also down so far this year with the total standing at $645.1m (EUR510.8m) as of November 30, compared to $779.4m (EUR617m) for the whole of 2007.

Admissions to date are 86 million compared to 103.6 million in 2007. However, the Christmas season is lucrative in Italy (December 2007 generated $109m (EUR86m)) and this year sees the launch of Medusa's Il Cosmo Sul Como, a bi-annual comedy franchise referred to locally as 'Aldo, Giovanni and Giacomo'.

Expectations for the title hover around $25.3m (EUR20m). Filmauro is releasing its annual Christmas blockbuster, this year called Natale A Rio.

The film typically brings in around $25.3m (EUR20m) and often more. Market share for local films is expected to rise this year from 33% in 2007 to 35%.

Universal's Kung Fu Panda is the highest grossing film of the year with $21.5m (EUR17m), Filmauro's Grande, Grosso E... Verdone is the most successful Italian film to date with $16.3m (EUR12.9m), while 01 Distribution's festival favourite Gomorrah took $12.8m (EUR10.1m).