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Pinocchio flops


Despite a well-publicised release onto 1195 US theatres on Christmas Day, American audiences were distinctly underwhelmed by Italian filmmaker Roberto Benigni’s Pinocchio.
The unforgettable one-man show that Benigni regaled us with at the Shrine Auditorium in L.A. in 1999 on winning the film industry’s top award for Life Is Beautiful was not a strong enough currency to convince Americans that Pinocchio was beautiful too. The film got scathing reviews in the US press; its fate was sealed when it was accused of lacking in “personality, energy and magic”. Pinocchio is even being compared to another huge industry turkey, Kevin Costner’s Waterworld.
The maverick Italian filmmaker’s failure to conquer America must surely have put a dampener on his Christmas, especially since Benigni has always felt a special affinity with Collodi’s wooden puppet, a feeling that the late Federico Fellini’s habit of calling Benigni “Pinocchietto” or Little Pinocchio only reinforced.
Predictably, the film was a top performer at home where it took a reported Euros25.4million over four weeks on general release. However, Pinocchio's failure to grab a Golden Globe nomination (widely considered the precursor to the Oscar) and despite an opening weekend box office of $1million, the film's chances of winning a best foreign language film Oscar nomination seem increasingly unlikely.

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(Translated from Italian)

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