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ANALYSIS Italy

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Ciné/Box Office: European comedy outstripping American comedy

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- American superheroes and Italian comic actors are winning at the box office. In Italy few animated films are made and filmmakers stick to the same genres, except for Salvatores' The Invisible Boy

Ciné/Box Office: European comedy outstripping American comedy
The Invisible Boy by Gabriele Salvatores

There’s surprising news from the conference “What works and what doesn’t. Genres and what audiences want: a focus on the five-year period 2010-2014”, which was organised by Box Office magazine as part of the Ciné event currently being held in Riccione. As it turns out, international comedies set in Europe are more popular than American comedies: in the five-year period 2010 – 2014, the hottest comedy was French film The Intouchables [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, which generated €15 million in 2012. Other films that did well were Woody Allen’s films set in Paris (Midnight in Paris [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, with around €8 million in box office takings) and Rome (To Rome with Love [+see also:
trailer
interview: Woody Allen
film profile
]
, with around €8 million in takings).

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The analysis carried out by Box Office on the popularity of the genres of films with box office takings of more than a million euros shows that the action genre saw an explosion over the five-year period with the Fast&Furious franchise, growing steadily in popularity between 2011 and 2013, whilst 2012 was the year in which Skyfall [+see also:
film review
trailer
making of
film profile
]
was released. Then there’s the ad hoc superhero genre, which is accounting for an increasingly large proportion of box office takings overall. The biggest films of the genre to be released during the period were Iron Man 3 (with takings of €16 million in 2013), The Avengers (€18 million in 2012) and The Dark Knight Rises (with takings of €14.6 million in 2012). Turning to the sci-fi genre, Christopher Nolan rose to prominence with the successes of Inception and Interstellar [+see also:
trailer
making of
film profile
]
, which both took over ten million euros at the box office. The Fantasy genre lost crucial sagas over the five-year period such as Harry Potter and Twilight, which ensured the popularity of the genre in 2010 along with Alice in Wonderland (also thanks to 3D screenings). The trilogy of The Hobbit proved less effective, failing to obtain the admissions recorded for The Lord of the RingsMaleficent yielded surprising box office results in 2014, bringing in over €14 million.

International thrillers struggled over the five-year period, whilst the adventure genre did well off the back of single films like Pirates of the Caribbean 4 (which took €17 million in 2011) as well as the success of quirky films such as the Sherlock Holmes series. Animation saw steady results, and the family genre generally pulled in moderate takings, with the exception of The Smurfs which took over €11 million in 2011. Drama has also seen steady results over the years: the top titles saw box office takings of between seven and eight million euros (Shutter Island, The King’s Speech [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Tom Hooper
film profile
]
, The Great Gatsby
); the biggest success, with box office takings way above the average for the genre was The Wolf of Wall Street, with takings of €12 million in 2014.

Turning to Italian film, which accounted for 27.6% of the market in 2014, comedy is undoubtedly the most popular genre, with most of these films being released in the autumn – spring period. Examples of successful comedies during the five-year period were Benvenuti al Sud [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 and Benvenuti al Nord [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 and, of course, Checco Zalone’s films, like Che Bella Giornata (€43 million) and Sole a catinelle [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
 (€51.8 million). But overall the comedy genre seems to be in decline. After seeing box office figures peak with Io, loro e Lara [+see also:
film review
trailer
making of
film profile
]
and The Immature [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 (which made €15 million each between 2010 and 2011), the top films of the years that followed pulled in less (the most being €12 million for Un boss in salotto [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
). In 2013 no film reached the six million euro mark.

With regard to the drama genre, the most popular films in recent years have been Kiss Me Again [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 (2010) and The Best Offer [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 (2013), which brought in takings of around €9 million, followed by the success of The Great Beauty [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Paolo Sorrentino
festival scope
film profile
]
 and Leopardi [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Mario Martone
film profile
]
 with between six and seven million euros in takings. 

In Italy few animated films are made and filmmakers tend to stick to the same genres, with the exception of Gabriele Salvatores and his family film The Invisible Boy [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Gabriele Salvatores
film profile
]
 and the two detective stories Angels of Evil [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
 and ACAB [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Stefano Sollima
film profile
]
, which pulled in around €2.9 million apiece. Andrea Occhipinti, the president of distributor association ANICA, commented on Box Office’s analysis, highlighting the importance of taking a gamble on new genres. "Italian film is characterised above all by comedy and comic films, along with arthouse films. Furthermore, there is no production of animated films whatsoever in our country, a sector which is widely covered in other countries like France, Germany, Korea and Japan. Unfortunately Italian production lacks imagination and risks becoming repetitive without leaving any space for new writers and ideas. ACAB and Angels of Evil appealed to young audiences; I think there’s a lot of potential in this type of production".

(Translated from Italian)

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