Italian Film Industry Suffers Setback in 2014 as Box Office, Admissions Numbers Slide
While more Italian films are being produced, budgets are decreasing.
Italy’s film industry suffered a double blow in 2014 as box office revenues and admissions both took a dive.
According to new numbers released by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism (MiBACT) and film industry body Anica, box office numbers for 2014 dropped 7 percent from the previous year down to $648 million (574.8 million euros). Admissions for the same period slid 6 percent from 97.38 million to 91.47 million.
Both bodies revealed that a total of 1,187 films were in circulation in Italy in 2014: 329 domestic, 385 from the U.S. and 323 from Europe. The figures also showed that Maleficent was the year's top grosser with $19.1 million in box office receipts.
Italy’s best year in the last ten was 2010, which saw 110.04 million admissions and $948 million (735 million euros) in box office, boosted by movies such as Avatar and Alice in Wonderland.
However, there is some good news, Italian productions are on the rise, with 180 in 2014 compared to 137 in 2013. But overall budgets are decreasing. Total investments in films decreased from $377.45 million (334.96 million euros) to $364.49 (323.46 million euros) year on year, with foreign investment falling from $86.9 million (77.14 million euros) to $59.89 million (53.15 million euros).
The year 2014 also saw a slight rise in cinema on TV. The best-performing film of the year was Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty, which took a 35.9 percent share with an audience of 8.87 million on Canale 5. Surprisingly, the best-performing American film was 1992’s Sister Act on Rai 1, pulling ahead of newer films Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror Mirror. The popularity of Italy’s own singing nun, Sister Cristina Scuccia, winner of The Voice Italy, could help to explain the film’s lasting appeal.
Improved tax credits for the industry saw an increase in films taking advantage of the scheme, with 30 productions from 12 countries benefiting in 2014, up from 14 productions from 8 countries in 2013. Films such as Everest, shot last year at Cinecitta, have helped attract Hollywood tentpoles back to Rome, with big-budget films this year including Spectre, Ben Hur and Zoolander 2.
Despite the gloom of last year, 2015 is already looking promising, with hits such as American Sniper, Fifty Shades of Grey and Furious 7 proving popular with Italians.