Rome film fest beats '07 presales record

More than 38,000 tickets sold for the 10-day event

ROME -- With just 48 hours until the start of the third Rome International Film Festival, organizers announced that more than 38,000 tickets have been sold, more than 8,000 ahead of 2007's record for the same period.

The sales have added about 80,000 euros ($109,000) to the festival's 15.5 million euros ($21.1 million) war chest. The sales took place over a 13-day pre-festival sales period this year -- one day more than last year -- but still mark a 17% jump in per-day sales. About 10,000 tickets were sold on the first day alone.

The strong sales come even as movie fans across Italy have shied away from the cinema.

Monitoring group Cinetel has reported that ticket sales during the first three quarters of the year were down 5.4% from 2007 levels for the same period -- the first time in three years that cinema ticket sales have slumped in Italy.

The festival gets under way Wednesday, though a few events are scheduled for Tuesday. The fest concludes Oct. 31.