We'll Be Back

Source: Screen International

The Italian government has unveiled a €20m initiative to subsidise cinemagoing over the summer months in a bid to bolster the  local industry.

The initiative will offer half-price tickets and will be launched on June 16 and will run until September 16.

Italy’s exhibitors are still struggling to recover ground lost during the pandemic. Italian box office grossed €306.6m in 2022, down a massive 48.2% compared to the 2017-2019 average, according to figures from Italian distributors’ association Anica.

The theatrical sector sees the initiative as “a substantial investment in the summer months, in the hope it will spur (cinemagoing),” said Mario Lorini, president of Anec, the largest association of Italian cinemas, representing some 90% of total cinemas.

“The culture ministry will contribute some €3 to tickets while viewers will be asked to pay €3.50. All in all, we can say that a strong campaign in support of the big screen is finally being rolled out,” Lorini said.

Currently, the average cost of cinema tickets in Italy is approximately €6.80, according to various Italian theatrical associations.

“We needed something strong that is able to awake the public’s passion for cinema after it weakened in the long months of the pandemic due to fears of contagion, mask-wearing requirements and also more generally the changing audiovisual consumption patterns,” said Lucia Borgonzoni, Undersecretary of State at Italy’s Ministry of Culture who is responsible for the cinema and audiovisual industries.

“We are aiming to replicate and build on the 2019 record of summer cinema viewership… the rationale being that if theatricals pick up again properly, the entire industry will benefit,” Borgonzoni told Screen.

In September 2022, Italy’s government assigned €40m to support cinemas, theatres, museums, libraries and cultural institutes that were struggling with high-energy costs.

The government’s post-pandemic recovery plan also includes €100m available for cinema renovation works, with additional funding earmarked for exhibitors seeking to revamp older technology in favour of new state-of-the-art equipment systems.