Italian teen cult film I Want You (Ho Voglia Di Te) has beaten Roberto Benigni's Pinocchio for best opening day for a local film, a record the Oscar winner's film has held since 2002.
The Cattleya-produced I Want You, which is a sequel, scored $2 million (Euros 1.5 m) off 575 screens on its opening day, according to Cinetel, Italy's ticket compiler. Cinetel covers 90% of the Italian market.
Roberto Benigni's Pinocchio, in comparison, opened on 900 screens in October of 2002 to $1.4 million (Euros 1.065m) on its first day.
Pinocchio won out over the newcomer during its three-day opening weekend, however, taking $9.26m (Euros 7.035m) while I Want You took $8.3 million (Euros 6.3m).
While Warner Bros Italy president Paolo Ferrari expressed great satisfaction at the opening of the teen picture, the stellar results were not totally a surprise to the industry. Most here were expecting blockbuster results from the teen flick, which is the follow up to Three Steps Over Heaven (Tre Metri Sopra Il Cielo).
Three Steps Over Heaven's ascent to cult status was a business anomaly. Rome-based producers Cattleya picked up rights for the out-of-print book, producer Marco Chimenz told Screen International. The film was made but received marginal success at the box office. However, world of mouth made the film's status grow among teens and it became a DVD blockbuster - selling over one million copies. The book, which was then reprinted also achieved a cult following over time - but only after the film had become a success on DVD.
Both films feature teen heartthrob Riccardo Scamarcio in the central protagonist role of Step.
Weekend news casts showed teens filling the cinemas here and writer Francesco Moccia said the key to riveting their attention was in 'narrating in the style kids today live'.
Italy is enjoying a box office renaissance with local pictures responsible for 40% of the business since the beginning of 2007, according to Cinetel. This weekend is no exception with four of the top ten films local productions - I Want You , Saturno Contro, Notte Prima Degli Esami 2 (Night Before Finals 2) and Uno Su Due.