Italy Box Office Receipts Down 41 Percent in October Compared to 2011

The country's economic woes and a lack of new blockbusters took their toll on the Italian box office.

ROME – Cinema ticket sales in Italy collapsed in October, falling a stunning 41 percent compared to the same period in 2011 as the country’s economic doldrums took a tighter grip on the industry.

The fall in October, as reported by the audiovisual association ANICA, reversed a trend in which the sector showed signs of recovery in August in September after seven months of year-on-year declines.

It was also a bad sign for ANICA’s plan to have films in Italy open on Thursdays rather than Fridays as a way to extend the weekend and, ostensibly, increase ticket sales. The first weekend under the new policy, starting Oct. 4, showed an uptick in sales compared to the same weekend in 2011. But after that, things got worse quickly, due to the struggling economy and a lack of big-name blockbusters on screens.

November should see some improvement compared to October’s dismal numbers, due in part to the Oct. 31 release of Sam MendesSkyfall, the latest film in the James Bond franchise, which has performed well at the box office.

This year is now all but guaranteed to be the third consecutive year in which box office receipts fell compared to the previous year.