Warner Bros' driveinto international production and acquisitions got a seal of approval at thebox office over the weekend when the studio's first Italian-languageco-production, Ma Che Colpa Abbiamo Noi (It Can't Be All Our Fault), opened number one in Italy on $1.7m (Euros 1.6m). The comedy-dramadrew 277,744 admissions from 245 screens and is the result of a production pactbetween Warner Bros Pictures and Virginia Films, the company run by the picture'sacclaimed director Carlo Verdone and Marco Scaffardi. The story centres on agroup of therapy patients who are forced to go it alone when their therapistdies in mid-session. Ma Che Colpa Abbiamo Noi was written by Verdone, Piero De Bernardi, PasqualePlastino and Fiamma Satta and stars Verdone, Margherita Buy, Anita Caprioli,Raquel Suerio and Massimo Bellinzoni.
Pursuant to its Europeanambitions, Warner Bros began staffing up in early 2001 with the appointment ofSimona Benzakein, who as vice president of European productions is responsiblefor the studio's involvement in the production, acquisition anddistribution of local-language titles. There soon followed a production anddistribution deal with X-Filme in Germany, the acquisition of Italian rights toPedro Almodovar's Talk To Her,a multi-picture deal with Target Film in Germany, a co-production with LaPetite Reine on Le Boulet inFrance and the acquisition of rights to Nanni Moretti's Italian 2001Cannes Palme d'Or winner, The Son's Room, for Spain, Latin America and Japan.
In March 2002 Warner Brosappointed Crisilde Dominici as director of local production in Italy. Reportingto general manager Paolo Ferrari and Benzakein, Dominici's role was toseek out suitable projects for the Italian market. At the same time the studioannounced plans to embark on a Spanish production later in the year and beefedup its European operations and finance divisions at senior executive level.
In June last year Warner Brosbegan production with Italy's Solaris and International Video 80 on asecond Italian project, La Febbre Del Cavallo - La Mandrakata, a sequel to the cult 1970s horse racing comedy LaFebbre Del Cavallo. The productionis being directed by Carlo Vanzina, whose father Steno directed the originalversion, and stars Gigi Proietti, who played the lead in the original. Inanother tie-in, the screenplay was written by Vanzina and his brother Enrico,who co-scripted the original. Warner Bros holds local and internationaldistribution rights and a release is planned for November.
Elsewhere, Harry PotterAnd The Chamber Of Secrets grossed$13.3m from international markets over the weekend, according to estimates byWarner Bros. The family sequel registered 2.3 million admissions from 5,842screens and has an international running total of $542.6m.