Italian cinema has record-breaking year

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ROME -- This year continues to be an exceptional one for Italian cinema, with total ticket sales for the year surpassing a 21-year-old record with two weeks left in the year.

According to the cinema monitoring company Auditel, the 120 million ticket mark was passed Sunday(Dec. 16), breaking the modern-era record set in 1986. In Italy, the modern era is the period that started in the 1970s, after television had become popular.

The ticket sales represent an 11% increase compared with last year, and the 565 million euros ($814 million) in sales compares favorably to the 504 million euros ($726 million) from a year ago.

The difference will grow over the final two weeks of the year, Auditel said. Traditionally, the holidays are a strong period for films in Italy.

The top-grossing film in Italy so far this year was "Shrek the Third," which raked in 20.2 million euros ($29.1 million), edging homegrown "Manuale d'Amore 2" (Love manual 2), which took in 19.1 million euros ($27.5 million). The latest Harry Potter installment, "Spider-Man 3," and "Ratatouille" -- the only nonsequel in the group -- rounded out the top five.

So far, 56% of the boxoffice went to U.S. productions; with Italian films taking a 30% share.
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