Local films strong at Italian b.o.


ROME -- Italian films are continuing to experience a banner year as the first quarter draws to a close, with five Italian films among last weekend's top 10 and an unprecedented 42% of the country's overall boxoffice tied to domestic productions, according to film monitoring company Cinetel.

In 2006, 24.6% of the overall Italian boxoffice came from Italian productions, a slight jump compared with 2005. In most years, about a fifth of overall boxoffice has come from domestic films.

Through 10 weeks this year, five weekends have seen an Italian film top the boxoffice: two weeks each for Luis Prieto's "Ho Voglio Di Te" (I Want You) and "Manuale d'Amore 2" (Love Manual 2) from Giovanni Veronesi and one week for Fausto Brizzi's romantic comedy "Notte Prima Degli Esami -- Oggi" (Night Before Finals -- Today).

But the strong start does not necessarily mean the year will end well. Last year, Italian films accounted for about a third of the country's total boxoffice after four months but ultimately finished with a whimper.

In this week's boxoffice, Italian films occupied the top spot, followed by Nos. 3, 6, 7 and 10.