End of year figures fromItalian film data trackers Cinetel - which tracks 75%of the market - show Italy with an 8%-9% year-on-year deficit. Total admissionsresults from Cinetel come in at 88.1 million, 8.7%down from 2004's 96.5 million. Box office was slightly better 8.1% down from2004's $671.7m (569.4m Euros) with $617.2m (523.2m Euros).

The results are less drasticthan many international territories for the year. Admissions are still amarginal improvement on 2003's 87.5 million - which were themselves down from2002's 89.2 million.

This smaller deficit came inpart from an extraordinarily strong final month. The territory was given abigger end of year than most with four of the years top 16 titles released inDecember. These were led by the latest in the hit local Nataleseries, Christmas InMiami (Natale A Miami),having grossed $24.1m (20.4m Euros) from 3,298,538 admissions.

Neri Parenti's comedy, reportedthe final instalment in the long-running series, joins 2002 entry Christmas On The Nile (Natale Sur Nilo) (4.6 million admissions) in the country's top 20films of all time. It has already surpassed 2003's Christmas In India (3.1 millionadmissions) and 2004's Christmas In Love(2.87 million).

Medusa Film's Ti Amo In Tutte Le LingueDel Mondo released the same week as Christmas In Miami in Italy - both successfully holding Hollywood blockbusters King Kong and The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The WitchAnd The Wardrobe down the weekly charts - and finished in the top four (seetable). Narniamade number eight, while King Kongwas at 16. Mr AndMrs Smith also launched through 01 Distribution in December, making the top20 at 18 by the close of the year.

The December releases werenot the only year-end boosts, however, HarryPotter And The Goblet Of Fire finished third for the year having opened inNovember, while local star Roberto Benigni delivered The Tiger And The Snow (La Tigre E La Neve) inmid-October also making the top five.

UIP's animated hit Madagascar finished top for the year. Its 3.6 millionadmissions and $24.995m (21.2m Euros) only a shade below 2004 champion The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of TheKing (which opened in Italy on January 22, 2004 and sold 3.75 million tickets for a $26.96m gross). Madagascar beat 2004's top animated film, Shrek 2 (also from UIP) which sold 3.55 million tickets for a $24.6m(20.86m Euros) gross and finished second in its year.

Four local films featured inthe top seven films of the year, with Manuale D'Amore joining the three that made the top five.

Local distributor FilmAuro enjoyed top 20 hits with both Manuale and Christmas In Miami), while 01 Distributionscored three with Tiger And The Snow, MrAnd Mrs Smith and Million Dollar Baby.Though final distributor market share figures are not yet available UIP onceagain appears a clear champion releasing top earner Madagscar and five further top 20titles. These included Shark Tale(February 25) and Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason (January 7) which saw 2005 releasesin Italy having released in most international territories in2004.

Top 20 films - Italy 2005

Title (Distrubutor)Total adms Total gross

1 Madagascar (UIP) 3.6m $25m

2 Christmas In Miami (FilmAuro) 3.3m $24.1m*

3 Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire(Warner Bros) 3.3m $23.4m*

4 Ti Amo in Tutte Le Lingue Del Mondo (Medusa)2.7m $19.9m*

5 The Tiger And The Snow (01 Distribution)2.5m $17.5m*

6 Meet The Fockers (UIP)2.4m $17m

7 Manuale D'Amore (FilmAuro)2.35m $16.5m

8 The Chronicles Of Narnia(BVI) 2.3m $16.5m*

9 War Of The Worlds (UIP) 2.2m $15.6m

10 Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (WarnerBros) 1.85m $12.75m

11 Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason (UIP)1.6m $11.8m

12 Fantastic Four (20th Fox) 1.5m $10.7m

13 Shark Tale (UIP) 1.5m $10.35m

14 Star Wars: Episode III (20th Fox) 1.4m $10m

15 Alexander (Warner Bros) 1.4m $9.9m

16 King Kong (UIP) 1.3m $9.4m*

17 Million Dollar Baby (01 Distribution) 1.32m $9.2m

18 Mr And Mrs Smith (01 Distribution) 1.23m $9m*

19 Hitch (SPRI) 1.25m $9m

20 Kingdom Of Heaven (Medusa) 1.26m $8.8m

* Still on release atyear-end.

Source: Cinetel