Rai Cinema’s CEO Paolo Del Brocco on Monday unveiled the state-run film company’s 2011-2012 line up, budget and new projects in the production pipeline.
For the first five months of 2011, Rai’s films have grossed $57.7m (E40.2m) at the Italian box office, setting the company in second place and trailing only the Berlusconi owned Medusa Film, which has raked in $140m (E97.5m) for the same period.
Medusa and Rai in the top slots underscores that Hollywood majors and local independents are playing second fiddle to distributors of the local product that continues to dominate.
As of May 31, local titles took 48.44% of the market share in terms of admissions to Hollywood’s 43.44%.
At the same time, Del Brocco said foreign pick ups are down to five to six titles per year, half of what they used to be. “Frankly the Italian films are the ones that are really driving the market,” he said.
Del Brocco said Rai Cinema (which fused with its distribution arm 01 Distribution in December 2010) now has an overall film budget of $136m (E95m), which he broke down into $65m (Euros 45m) for production of Italian films, $43 (30m) into distribution and $29m (20m) into acquisitions.
He also revealed that Rai will finance and distribute Ferzan Ozpetek’s Magnifica Presenza, currently in scripting phase. The project is the follow up to Ozpetek’s wildly popular gay-themed “coming out” comedy-drama Loose Canons, produced by Domenico Procacci’s Fandango.
Rai’s autumn season kicks off with Conan The Barbarian 3D on Aug 19 from Lionsgate/Millennium Films/Nu Image, a title that aims to pump up audiences after Italy’s traditional summer box office wind down.
Other films to be distributed this autumn include quality local titles from Cattleya including Claudia Comencini’s Alps-set drama Quando La Notte featuring Vincere actor Filippo Timi; Gianni Amelio’s Le Premier Homme co-produced with France’s Soudaine Compagnie, and Emanuele Crialese’s immigration drama Terraferma; Ermanno Olmi’s Il Villaggio Di Cartone produced by Cinemaundici and Roberto Faenza’s English-language, New York-set One Day This Pain Will Be Useful To You from Elda Ferri for Jean Vigo starring Ellen Burstyn, Marcia Gay Harden, Toby Regbo and Peter Gallagher and produced with Ron Stein’s Four Of A Kind Film.
In the year that local comedies have translated to massive box office results, Rai’s slate includes several comedies including Ex: Amici Come Prima by Carlo Vanzina produced by Italian International Film; Massimo Martelli’s Bar Sport and a rom-com Il giorno In Piu’ (Another Day) from IBC Movie with Fabio Volo and Isabella Ragonese as well as Scialla a Rome-set father-son comedy by first-time director Francesco Bruni.
Hotly awaited local titles to hit the screen in 2012 include the previously announced Matteo Garrone reality-TV infused title Big House currently on set in Naples from Fandango. Expectations are also high for first time features director Stefano Sollima off a successful TV career with police themed thriller A.C.A.B. (All Cops Are Bastards) from Cattleya top-lining Pier Francesco Favino and which promises to be an audience grabber. Giuliano Montaldo’s upcoming L’industriale (Industrial) set in Turin focuses on the family behind a manufacturing giant in decline also boasts a hot local cast led by Favino with Carolina Crescentini and Francesco Scianna.
As for acquisitions, Hollywood titles peppering the new slate include Scorsese’s Hugo Cabret 3D which Rai will release in mid December as counter programming to local comedies that dominate the box office at that time of year.
Other imports include The Three Muskateers 3D by Paul W.S. Anderson with Milla Jovovich, Immortals 3D; Drive from Nicolas Winding Refn, the George Clooney directed/starring The Ides Of March, The Mechanic by Simon West, and Bel Ami starring Robert Pattinson.
2012 tiles include David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis and Rodrigo Cortes’ Robert De Niro starring Red Lights from Venus Entertainment.