Italy seeing trend toward multiplexes


ROME -- The Italian cinema operators' association reported Thursday that more than 250 cinemas had closed in Italy since the start of 2003, which the group says illustrates a trend toward an increased emphasis on multiscreen theaters.

The number of screens in Italy has grown in recent years, as multiscreen cinemas have become more common in larger metropolitan areas. But 306 screens -- from the 254 cinemas that have closed -- have disappeared.

The trend has been most pronounced in the wealthier northern regions, with Lombardy, the region that includes Milan, the home of 58 closed cinemas. Emilia Romagna, home to Bologna, saw 53 closures, while Tuscany, home to Florence, was the next-hardest-hit region with 45, ANEC said.

According to ANEC, neighborhood single- and double-screen cinemas fare better in central and southern Italy. But the trend is present even in those regions: Rome, in central Italy, and Naples, in the south, are both among the cities that have seen the most cinema closures.

"Unfortunately, it is many of the most interesting cinemas that are closing their doors," an ANEC spokesman told The Hollywood Reporter.