Apparently, there’s strength in numbers, and this would certainly seem to be the case going by the 2019 Cinetel data presented yesterday in Rome. The past year, which has barely drawn to a close, signals positive change for the Italian box office, which has seen its earnings rise by 14.35% and admissions by 13.55% compared to a rather unfortunate 2018. After a poor first trimester, each and every month of 2019, from April through December, won out over the same period of the previous year thanks to joint efforts across the entire film chain. This has translated into greater diversification of the films on offer and better programming of movie releases, with initiatives such as Moviement bringing high quality films to cinema auditoriums throughout the summer months too.“

There’s a feeling of complete renewal, with large audiences flocking to cinemas”, the president of ANICA Francesco Rutelli commented, underlining the high quality of the films shown and the fruitful collaboration that has taken place between producers, distributers and operators. 2019 takings stand at €635.4 million, while admission numbers level out at 97.5 million. The best results were recorded in the months of July (+108.90%), August (+45.91%, the highest result for this period since 1995) and April (+41.15%). “Last year’s positive figures see us emerging from a terrible three-year period”, stated the president of ANICA’s distributers’ section Luigi Lonigro, “and this is thanks to an extraordinary summer which put us back in line with other European countries”. December’s result was also outstanding (+13.76% with respect to 2018); in fact, it’s the best outcome achieved by this particular month in ten years.“

These numbers are comforting and are an incentive for us to continue diversifying our film offering: audiences want to be surprised”, remarked Francesca Cima, president of ANICA’s producers’ contingent. In 2019, 495 new films were distributed and shown for the first time in commercial Italian cinemas (-34 on 2018, which reveals a more select choice of films), of which 193 were Italian productions or co-productions. Eighty-five complementary works featuring new content (events, special editions, re-editions; +7 on 2018) were also distributed across cinemas, some of which to great effect – we need only think of the €1.6 million taken in three days by Chiara Ferragni: Unposted.

Things are also looking up for Italian productions (as well as co-productions) at the box office  which, in 2019, recorded earnings of €134.8 million (+5.39% on 2018), earning it a total market share of 21.22%. Admission numbers, meanwhile, rose by 5.56% for a total market share of 21.56%. As for other countries, the American market share grew to 65.16% (compared to 55.57% in 2018) with takings of around €414 million, followed by British film (€39 million in earnings; market share: 6.14%) and French production (€21.6 million; market share: 3.40%). The out-and-out champion for 2019, in earning terms, was The Lion King with a box office result of €37.5 million, while the best result in national production and co-production terms was that of Il primo Natale (€13.3 million). 

“We’re happy but not triumphant. We must continue to grow”, ANEC president Mario Lorini insisted. Meanwhile, the new year has got off to a good start: thanks to the phenomenal Checco Zalone and his work Tolo Tolo - which was released on 1 January and has already surpassed the €41 million mark - the first 15 days of 2020 are boasting a €24 million increase in earnings compared to the same period in 2019.