The new year brought a much needed cash injection into Italy’s struggling box office. Local comedy Si Accettano Miracoli opened huge with $8.5 million over the holiday weekend. The phenomenal debut well surpassed the openings of Hollywood sequels over the past year, including the debuts of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1.
Si Accettano Miracoli is directed by and stars Alessandro Siani as a corporate type who loses his job and heads south to revive his brother’s small parish. After faking a miracle, the small village church becomes a place of pilgrimage for thousands. But the bigger the scam grows, the harder it becomes to keep the hoax going.
Clint Eastwood‘s American Sniper opened in second place with a career best in Italy of $6.7 million. With a strong marketing campaign from Warner Bros., audiences came out in droves to see the true-life story of America’s deadliest sniper in Iraq. The film also had the highest per-screen average ($13,785 per screen) over the holiday weekend.
Italy premiered the film on Jan. 1, well ahead of its global rollout in two weeks. “We really wanted to be the first region worldwide to offer the public American Sniper, and now we are proud to have opened the way for what we are sure will become a global success,” said Nicola Maccanico, managing director, Warner Bros. Pictures Italy.
Other films held strong over the weekend, with Big Hero 6 raking in $3.2 million and Italian film The Rich, the Poor and the Butler taking in $3.1 million.
The Hobbit fell to the No. 5 position, with $2.8 million, helping to contribute to the film’s global take nearing $600 million.
Two more local films stayed in the top 10, with Un Natale Stupefacente at No. 9, collecting $1.4 million and The Invisible Boy from Academy Award-winning director Gabriele Salvatores bringing in $1.37 million at the No. 10 spot.