Universal Pictures International Italy has pulled out of the distributor's section of ANICA, the Italian motion pictures organization.

The decision was taken by Richard Borg, Universal Studio's chief in Italy, after rules calculating the year's top distributor award were changed at the last moment moving Universal from first to second place.

The award, called the Golden Ticket, will now go to Medusa which had been in second place.

The two distributors have approximately 17% of the market share each according to Cinetel, Italy's ticket compiler.

Previously for the purposes of the award, ticket tallies were considered through to November 15.

A decision was taken to include the second half of November; a period where Medusa had new releases, including La Fidanzata di Papa (Dad's

Girlfriend) but Universal did not.

Borg was advised of the change at a press conference on November 25 for industry event Professional Days, which takes place December 1-5 and where the Golden Ticket will be awarded.

As of the November 16 the market quotes stood at:

  • Universal 17.84%;
  • Medusa 17.73%.

However, as ofNovember 23 the market quotes were:

  • Medusa 17.83%;
  • Universal 17.72%.

'If they want to change the rules, they should make it effective as of the following year,' an industry insider commented to Screen Daily.

While Universal was not available for a comment, Borg was reported in the Italian trade media as saying: 'I was informed for that the official classification (of distributor quotas) already made public by the associations was altered.

'Universal has always been oriented only and exclusively towards the results of its own films and the commercial relationship with its own clients and the change of the market classification could certainly not lead us to change our behaviour.

'For this reason Universal leaves the Distributor's section of Anica and Anica as well. We will (maintain our word) and present our product (at the Professional Days) as already organized but will abstain from the participation of any type of awards.'

Whether or not the rule change is permanent or if Universal will remain outside of Anica and the awards ceremony will become clear during the Professional Days event.