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Industry / Market - Italy

Industry Report: Distribution, Exhibition and Streaming

The cinema exclusivity window for Italian films is now 90 days

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The new decree is now in force and confirms the implementation of 2018’s decree with all the anticipated mechanisms in place and with the sole modification of a reduction in days from 105 to 90

The cinema exclusivity window for Italian films is now 90 days
(© EP/European Parliament)

In Italy, the “window” (of theatrical exclusivity) for national films benefitting from public funds will now last 90 days. The decree signed at the end of March by MP Dario Franceschini has now entered into law. This provision confirms the implementation of the 2018 Bonisoli decree (read our article) with all the anticipated flexibility mechanisms in place and with the sole modification of a reduction in days from 105 to 90. During the emergency period brought about by Covid, theatrical exclusivity was reduced to 30 days so as not to damage Italian titles prospects vis-a-vis American blockbusters, and audiences were left disoriented by a combination of day-and- date releases, event releases with 10-day windows and various exemptions to usual practices.

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The decree in question stipulates that this 90-day term will be reduced to 10 days if the audiovisual work in question is scheduled to be screened in movie theatres on days other than Friday, Saturday, Sunday or bank holidays, for 3 or less days. This period is reduced to 60 days if the film is scheduled to be screened in less than 80 cinemas and if less than 50,000 admissions are recorded during the first 21 days of programming.

This decree doesn’t apply to Italian film productions not benefitting from ministerial subsidies, or foreign films, for which an ordinary Act of Parliament is required and which Franceschini is purportedly working on. According to the latest edition of the specialist Box Office magazine (click here), the Italian Ministry of Culture’s DG for Film and Audiovisual Works Nicola Borrelli stressed that “the aim of efficient and timely regulation of exclusivity windows is to help Italian cinemas which are in grave difficulty right now. However, we’re still deciding whether taking action on exclusivity windows really is an efficient way to help cinemas come through this difficult time. Other countries’ experiences haven’t provided a definitive answer: in France, where windows are incredibly long (4 months), the market has picked up again, but it’s also taken off again in Spain and Germany, where there isn’t actually any release window regulation. Ultimately, short windows are a contributing factor to the crisis, but they’re not the only cause. So, they’re not the only issue we should be working on”.

Naturally, not everyone is in favour of a law regulating release windows for international films. In another quote from Box Office, the new Deputy Managing Director of Universal Pictures International Italy, Massimo Proietti, declared himself against “regulation which stipulates fixed rules. We believe that media chronologies should be the result of an agreement between us and cinema operators, made on a film-by-film basis. The idea of one law changing and determining consumer habits is a highly questionable one. In our market, there’s no evidence to suggest that audiences choose not to go to the cinema because the time they have to wait between a film’s cinema release and its domestic availability is too short”.

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(Translated from Italian)

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