Twenty markets – from Portugal to Russia and from Norway to Turkey – have answered this question asked by MEDIA Salles.
We can start by remarking that thirteen of these countries listed fewer than ten titles.
In some cases these were small or even tiny, emerging markets – such as Montenegro – but in other cases territories with well-established cinematographic infrastructures and a strong interest in films “made in Italy”.
In Scandinavia, for example, Denmark indicates three titles, Sweden comes to a halt with “Call me by your name”, whilst Norway quotes eight productions, including the rerelease of “The Postman”. On the Mediterranean Rim, Greece almost completes the top ten, registering “L’ora legale” in first place, with as many as 60,000 spectators, and in ninth place “They call me Jeeg”, with around five hundred.
Turkey, a fast expanding market, which has grown from 50 million to 70 million admissions over the past four years, names four titles, including the co-production “Le Rédoutable” in first place with just under five thousand spectators, followed by “Suspiria”.
Four films are also quoted by the Serb Republic, Ukraine and Latvia, three by Slovenia but only two by Lithuania.
Better results in Romania, which yields five, and Bulgaria, which totals six. Amongst the virtuous countries, which succeed in offering a wide variety of Italian films – a necessary factor for potential audiences to go on perceiving the vitality of film production in the Bel Paese – quoting more than the ten titles asked for appear large markets like the United Kingdom (170 million admissions in 2017) or Russia which, by selling almost 214 million tickets, for the first time took first place in the classification of admissions from France.
In the latter two countries, the number of Italian titles was more or less the same: 15 in the former and 16 in the latter. Switzerland, Hungary and the Slovak Republic also place themselves with 15 titles, whilst Portugal and the Netherlands do even better, each with 20.
Top place for the widest offer of Italian titles goes to the Czech Republic, which counts 23.
And which titles reached the largest number of countries?
If “Perfect strangers” proves to be the film that has crossed most borders, we can quote a winning “trio”: the one formed by Genovese’s comedy, together with “Like crazy” and “Sweet dreams”, which reappears complete in five countries (BG, HU, NL, SK, CZ) and, in various combinations, in another ten. “The confessions”, “Fire at sea”, “Mister Felicità”, “Let yourself go”, “The great beauty” and “Husband and Wife” also reach several territories.
In terms of the number of tickets sold, it is once again “Perfect strangers” that gains top place, reaching 163,000 spectators in Russia, over 52,000 on the far smaller Hungarian market, over 30,000 both in the Czech Republic and in the Netherlands, 22,000 in Portugal and even 16,000 in Lithuania, a country with fewer than three million inhabitants.
Lastly, if you have ever wondered why the Czech Republic boasts the largest number of Italian productions, or why Hungary, a market with 15 million spectators, offers the same range as the United Kingdom, this is the answer: statistics here include not only films in the traditional sense, but also so-called added content, in particular art documentaries, devoted to celebrating Italian artists like Raffaello or the more prestigious museums, from the Vatican to the Uffizi.
These are productions which, whilst being programmed as “event cinema”, i.e. in a non-continuous manner, are capable of winning more spectators than important films: in Hungary, for example, “Saint Peter’s and the Papal Basilicas of Rome” gained 25% more audience than “Sweet dreams”.
The reason for this success is explained to us by Klaudia Elsaesser, managing director of Pannonia Entertainment, a company specialising in the distribution of added content in Central Europe: “In our countries there are audiences with a keen interest in art documentaries, particularly Italian ones, thanks both to the subject matter and the very high technical quality of the productions.
These are different audiences compared to the usual cinema-going public, not only prepared to pay more than for a traditional film – especially if the production is in 3D, as in the case of Raffaello – but also extremely loyal.
For years I have been working with Nexo Digital and Magnitudo Film, as they are able to provide a continuous supply of content that satisfies the demands of spectators who are art and culture lovers and special fans of Italy. This is why I am preparing a new “season” revolving around the latest productions dedicated to Palladio, Bernini and Caravaggio”.
And if some of our readers might think that the market for added content is negligible, they should consider that, between 2010 and 2016, it experienced an overall growth of 345% on three large markets, such as Italy, France and the United Kingdom.
An opportunity for creative enterprises and the audiovisual industry in Italy, but also for the entire “country system”.