The fact that many people contribute to a movie’s success is more than just a cliché. in addition to the producers, writers, cast and technicians, all the people involved in marketing a movie play a fundamental role. in this fi eld, knowledge of the market, its actors and dynamics, attention to competitive scenarios and an ability to understand trends, fashions and public sensitivity become crucial elements for ensuring commercial success. This is even more important when selling European movies abroad, i.e. outside their country of origin, in a highly competitive context where productions from European countries are oft en considered to be niche products.
This is proved by the fact that of the ten italian movies (including co-productions) most viewed in italy in 2003, three sold 100% of their tickets in italy, whilst four achieved fi gures varying between 93 and 99%. if we exclude the minority co-production gangs of new york, only io non ho paura, with 30% of spectators on the old continent and The dreamers, another co-production, with 44%, can call themselves European successes (source: lumiere).
93% of the spectators of one movie in particular which received a lot of international critical acclaim, la fi nestra di fronte, were italian, with the remaining 7% distributed over 15 other countries. These included spain which had the lion’s share with 1.9%. Things went better, on the international scene, for io non ho paura for which the ratio of tickets sold in italy and in the rest of Europe was 70 : 30.
To find out more about the people who contribute to the international distribution of italian movies, the calendar which, until now, has been realized in an experimental form by mEDia salles, is available on the association’s website (www.mediasalles.it). it provides a panoramic view of data which is not easily found anywhere else, such as the names of sales agents and the various national distributors.
if we look at the months from when the calendar was launched in June 2006 until october 2007, a certain polarization towards a small number of sales agents is evident. of the 42 movies for which the sales agents and release dates were known with a certain degree of precision, nine were entrusted to the same agent, Adriana Chiesa Enterprises, and another thirteen to two foreign companies, Wild Bunch and TF1 International, and Italy’s Rai Trade. The remaining movies were entrusted to companies which handled from one to a maximum of three Italian titles. These included John Matthews, Celluloid Dreams, The Works and Lakeshore Entertainment, all foreign companies.
The trend towards “specializing” in Italian movies also emerged from an analysis of the distributors, where some companies confirmed their “vocation” to the diffusion of Italian productions, such as the small but consolidated Acadra in France, and boutiques of European cinema like Magrytte Films International and MK2 Diffusion. The same goes for A-Film and Cinemien in the Netherlands, ABC Distribution in Belgium and Triangelfilm in Sweden. An almost unique case is the Swiss Morandini Films Distribution which, despite its anglicized name, presents itself with an unequivocal motto: “Italian cinema is our Art, our passion”, and has recently decided to export its formula, which has been well tested on the Swiss market, to Germany.
Cinema&Video International 5-2007