Italian Film Sales Fell 17 Percent in May Due to Weak Economy, Cinema Closures From Earthquakes

The Avengers (Marvel Studios)

Joss Whedon's The Avengers went on to earn $1.5 billion worldwide. 

Disney's "The Avengers" top Italy's box office charts in May, as no Italian film appears in the top ten for the month

ROME – Italian cinema attendance returned to a downward trend in May after inching higher in April, cinema monitoring company Cinetel reported Tuesday, with total ticket sales down 17 percent compared to the same month in 2011.

There were some external factors contributing to the dramatic drop, with ticket sales in the region of Emilia Romagna – the Italian region that includes the cities of Bologna and Modena – falling by half in the wake of a series of devastating earthquakes. But Cinetel reported that overall, the main contributing factor was the country’s weak economy.

Nationally, 6.01 million tickets were sold, down 17 percent compared to May 2011. Revenue for the month was €39.4 million ($50.4 million), down 18 percent compared to the year-ago period. Sales in April were up around 1 percent compared to April 2011. 

Foreign productions dominated the box office for the month, with no Italian films in the top ten earners for the month. The top film in Italy in May was Walt Disney’s The Avengers, which took in €8.1 million ($10.4 million), followed by Universal’s American Pie: Reunion, which earned €6.1 million ($7.8 million). Woody Allen’s To Rome With Love, which was filmed in the Italian Capital, was sixth with box office receipts of €1.7 million ($2.2 million) in its second full month in Italian cinemas.

Despite being shut out in May, an Italian film is still No. 1 over the first five months of the year, with slapstick comedy Benvenuti al Nord (Welcome to the North) from Medusa taking in €27.2 million ($34.8 million), Cinetel said, far ahead of Avengers’ €17.6 million ($22.5 million) so far this year.