It’s all about networking, especially in the movie industry, particularly in Italy.
Ciné 2014 has been as usual not only the place for distributions to showcase their product to exhibitors, but also a great occasion for the insiders to share facts and information about the state of the seventh art.
It cannot be hidden that film exhibition is really struggling in Italy, as MiBACT report shows attendance in H1 2014 is down compared to the same period of the previous year: the latest Festa del Cinema has not satisfied anyone (differently from the cases of Spain and France) being only on its second year, neither the people nor the exhibitors and distributors, perhaps because of poor marketing or because of lack of good content, and greater cohesion among different industry’s parties is needed, besides the usual helps from the Government. We say, most importantly, this industry needs initiative, creativity, new business models.
Richard Borg, General Manager at NBCUniversal Italy, says that ‘exhibitors and distributors need to agree for improving summer market‘, whereas according to Nicola Maccanico, General Manager at Warner Bros Italy, ‘Italian cinema must risk in order to grow, industry associations must collaborate, longer programming is the key, and price cuts are not a sustainable solution for increasing attendance’. On the other side, though, small but ambitious distributors such as Adler Entertainment, claimed publicly that majors are the ones who should be more willing to risk and accept competition from indies. In short, the usual conflict between David and Goliath, the usual defense of their own backyard: for instance, ANEC, the association of small exhibitors, and ANEM, the associations of multiplex owners, perhaps because of clearly differing priorities, are officially not showing in panels together anymore, at least they did not this time.
All in all, the situation appears to be far from being idyllic as the glitter and sequins would pretend, a better marketing effort is needed, together with better theater experiences and stronger product, which by the way seems to be guaranteed for the upcoming season: just to mention a few, new players such as Notorious, Videa, Good Films and Adler will be bringing high quality independent foreign content to the Italian market; 01Distribution, which showcased the new franchise film about an invisible kid directed by Academy Award winner Gabriele Salvatores and produced by Indigo, and Medusa are going as usual to focus on Italian productions, particularly on comedies; art-house distribution BiM (now totally part of pan-European independent distribution platform Wild Bunch, 100 releases per year and €162M sales in 2013) will be releasing the first film as a producer by great actor Pierfrancesco Favino (@pfavino), whereas Lucky Red will be strongly focusing on events and releasing the first franchise film with Mattel’s character Max Steel as protagonist; as far as majors are concerned, high expectations have been raising for Disney‘s Guardians of Galaxy by Marvel, Warner‘s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, and Universal‘s Fast & Furious 7.
To be mentioned that Universal has strengthen its agreement with The Space Movies, the new brand recently launched by theaters chain The Space Cinema, for providing commercial and marketing support to its so called alternative content distribution, an interesting and growing market that reached €5.7M in H1 2014, and seems to be the trending greatest opportunity for exploiting digital projection and satellite content delivery technologies, and taking new audiences to the theaters.
Next convention for the Italian film industry is planned as usual in Sorrento for next December.