Italy Cinema Ticket Sales Rose for Third Straight Month in March

After declining for the last two years, the troubled sector increasingly seems poised for growth in 2013.

ROME – Italy’s beleaguered cinema sector continued its recovery in March, with ticket sales 16.3 percent higher than a year ago, the cinema monitoring company Cinetel reported Monday, the third consecutive month of year-on-year increases.

Overall cinema attendance in Italy declined for the second straight year in 2012, but with the third quarter of 2013 now in the books, a much-needed turnaround appears it be gaining steam -- March’s totals showed the largest one-month year-on-year jump so far this year.

Based on the 9.2 million tickets sold, revenue for the month was €59.8 million ($77.4 million), 18.7 percent higher than in the same month a year ago and the highest one-month total so far this year.

The trend could be set to continue: industry insiders predict strong sales to continue at least until the start of summer.

One negative take for the Italian cinema industry was that the share of the market for domestic productions so far this year slipped to 37.7 percent from 40.1 percent at the same point in 2012. But in March, Italian films saw a 9 percent increase compared to their level a year ago.

U.S. films were dominant, owning 51.5 percent of the market compared to 35.4 percent a year ago, with France dropping the most: French cinema was buoyed a year ago with the release of Intouchables (The Intouchables) from Oliver Nakache and Eric Toledano. The film owned 20 percent of the Italian market a year ago, but no films have had the same impact so far this year.

Twitter: @EricJLyman