Reg. Trib. Milano n. 418 del 02.07.2007 - Direttore responsabile: Elisabetta Brunella

International Edition No. 162 - year 15 - 17 February 2020

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The new MEDIA Salles statistics on cinema-going in Europe
will be published during the 2020 Berlinale.
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For some years now MEDIA Salles has been investigating a much discussed area but one whose demand for deeper knowledge remains unsatisfied: that of added content for the big screen. In other words, the role that cinemas can play in spreading the enjoyment of art, culture, sport and live entertainment and making them more popular. In addition to the collection of statistical data, the articles published in the various editions of DiGiTalk and the communications presented during cinema events Europewide, MEDIA Salles has recently launched a new column starting with a glimpse at the Russian market. In this issue the focus has moved to Scandinavia.

Added Content and Films from Italy to Scandinavia

26 million inhabitants who visit the cinema a couple of times a year, i.e. above the average for the Continent, account for a market of 50 million tickets sold at over 10 euros each, a considerably higher price than in all other European countries: these are the key figures for the three countries of the Scandinavian peninsula, which, as usual, are joined by Denmark. Which Italian productions were most widely viewed in these countries in 2019?

As regards added content, although the northern markets strongly feature opera from the Metropolitan and ballet from the Bolshoi, there has been no lack of productions made in Italy. In Sweden in 2019, for example, "Tintoretto. Un ribelle a Venezia" / "Tintoretto. A Rebel in Venice" was released and in Norway "La Musica del Silenzio" / "The Music of Silence", based on the novel written by the tenor Andrea Bocelli and freely inspired by his life, came tenth in the classification of the most widely viewed titles. In Finland, instead, "Il Volo at Matera" was released. For Finnish audiences, in 2020 productions from La Scala have been announced, such as "Attila" and "Andrea Chénier", as well as "Il Trovatore" from the Verona Arena. Again from La Scala, Denmark is expecting "Tosca" interpreted by Anna Netrebko.

As far as films are concerned, we can see that once again in the past year a coproduction has appeared at the top of the charts everywhere: if, in 2018, it was "Call me by your name" that accounted for the lion's share - an Italian film but strongly supported by the international scope of its production and distribution - in 2019 we have "Todos lo saben" / "Everybody knows", coproduced by France, Spain and Italy. Asghar Fahradi's drama, released in Scandinavia in the first three months of the year, reached 20,000 spectators in Finland, where it was distributed by Finnkino, and 20,000 in Sweden, 16,000 in Denmark and 7,000 in Norway - territories covered by Scanbox. As regards the other positions in the top ten, Finland and the other three markets reveal quite different characteristics. In 2019 again, Finnish audiences seem to show some preference for "classic" horror, especially for Dario Argento, thanks to the distributor Cinema Mondo, which brought to the big screen "Phenomena" (1985), "Suspiria" (1977) - already released last year in the wake of Guadagnino's remake - "Tenebre" (1982), and "Profondo rosso" (1975), respectively in second, fourth, fifth and seventh place. The other three markets have several titles in common, such as, for example, "Lazzaro Felice". Distributed in Norway by Arthaus and in Denmark by Camera, the company that manages the Grand Teatret, the cinema which organizes the showcase "Cinema made in Italy" in Copenhagen, this film comes second in both countries, with respectively 7,000 and 4,000 admissions. Similarly, in Norway, Falaschi's comedy "Quanto basta" closely follows Rohrwacher's film, with over 5,000 spectators, whilst in Denmark it comes in fourth place selling a little under 3,000 tickets. Here it comes after "A casa tutti bene", which records a total of 3,500 admissions, a far more flattering result than obtained in Norway, where it comes in seventeenth place. The fact that the Scandinavian markets do not respond in the same way to the same film is also demonstrated by the results of "Loro", decidedly better in Norway and Denmark (in fourth place in both countries with over 2,000 admissions) than in Sweden. "Dogman" yields a similar result - but the other way round - coming second in Sweden with 6,000 admissions, fifth in Denmark and fourteenth in Norway, as well as "Bangla", fifth in Norway but in the bottom few places in Sweden. Instead, the success of "La paranza dei bambini" represents a uniquely Norwegian result, coming in sixth place with around 1,500 tickets.

Finland's interest in films from a more classical Italian repertory has already been mentioned but it is not an isolated case. In fact, "Nuovo Cinema Paradiso" is in seventh place in Norway, as well as coming eighth in Finland. And, again in Norway, Dario Argento's "Phenomena" and "Cesare deve morire", Golden Bear in 2012, have also been released.

Lastly, it is interesting to observe how Italian titles are translated in Scandinavia: "A casa tutti bene" has become "Min italienske familie", "Quanto basta" is "Smaken, i.e. taste, av Toscana" in Norway and "Smagen af Toscana" in Denmark. This reference to one of the regions best loved by northern peoples returns in the title of "Le meraviglie", rendered by "Miraklene i Toscana". To sum up, the objective is to link the film to experiences that audiences wish to repeat or to what is known, sometimes in the form of stereotypes, about Italy and the Italians. And so the rather enigmatic "Loro" has become the far more transparent and internationally comprehensible "Silvio og de andre", whilst "La paranza dei bambini" in Norway becomes "Camorraens barn". No need to be an expert linguist to grasp the meaning here!

This text is based on an article published in the Berlinale issue of Cinema & Video Int'l, the MEDIA Salles media partner.

(Per leggere il testo in italiano cliccare qui)

ADDED CONTENT: Experts' Corner
We have started this new column giving voice to the people who have already been working with added content for some time now, gaining first-hand experience in the field which we think is worth sharing internationally.

Joel Fioroni - cinema manager - Lux Art-house, Massagno (CH)

- What type of audience do you target with added content?

We've noticed that the target varies a lot according to the alternative content offered. Operas, for example, have an audience of their own, which does not visit the cinema for normal programming or for other types of events. The same goes for the Bolshoi ballets. The Art series, instead, has brought together to some extent our "traditional" audience, more closely linked to the cinema, and another type of audience more specifically interested in the world of the arts. We've also noticed several young people, often training in that specific sector or simply curious to go and see something different at the cinema. Lastly, film-concerts clearly attract a quite different target, which again varies widely according to the artists performing. Our real mission in taking advantage of these events that are so popular with the general public is to succeed in publicizing all our other offers of cinema and "capturing" a few new customers who may come across us for the first time.

- We know that you offer a variety of added content: what is the most successful type (opera, ballet, theatre, popular music, art documentaries etc)?

At present art documentaries record most success with the general public. It's quite a surprise to see Bolshoi ballets coming second, with a large number of fans always attending the screenings. Theatre, instead, depends a lot on the choice of the work offered and how well it is known. The "sacred" and most famous titles do record excellent results, whilst new or less well-known ones only draw the braver spectators, perhaps also due to the duration and prices. This can be a bit of a problem for the cinema, since the New York MET performances almost always occupy the Saturday afternoon and evening slots and "cancel" from two to three screenings from the programme. When there are fewer than 30/40 spectators in the theatre, this means more of a loss for the cinema.

- Is the ticket price for added content higher than the ticket price for films?

We have different rates for Art films, slightly higher than those for our normal programme (20.Fr instead of 15.Fr). Whilst tickets for opera and ballet are much more expensive (30.Fr), also because we have to pay the distributor far more than normal and because, as mentioned, this type of performance occupies a theatre for several hours. However, we value the loyalty of our customers highly, through the LUX cinema card, which guarantees a reduction of 5.Fr. per ticket for alternative content, too. We don't accept other reductions for this type of film (students, pensioners or other cards), precisely because we want to reward our subscribers.

- Do you believe the Swiss market for added content/event cinema will develop in the near future?

I certainly do. Italy is already well ahead here: many films that have been released as part of normal programming in Switzerland, have been offered in Italy as "event cinema" on only a few dates. In today's context, where there are so many weekly releases in the cinema and even multiplexes don't have room for their programming, I think some, more "special" and less commercial films may find their fortune in these targeted events, well publicized and managed so that their potential audiences are concentrated in only a few slots. This would benefit producers, distributors and exhibitors. I don't think it makes sense to keep a film on the programme for weeks on end, with an average of 10-20 spectators in the theatre, when the same numbers and results could be obtained in only 3-4 screenings.

Taking into account a single auditorium like ours, the advantage offered by this system (from an economic point of view, too) really is important.

- Can you imagine initiatives that could give more visibility to added content/event cinema in Switzerland (professional conferences for cinema exhibitors/distributors, presentations of show-reels/trailers, informal gatherings etc.)?

In Switzerland cinema promotion is extremely weak and one of the obstacles is the language problem. In their respective regions cinemas tend to move independently and our Italian-speaking region, which is definitely the smallest, is often disregarded by distributors. It becomes very difficult to promote films and events without sufficient support from the distributor and without adequate publicity (trailers and posters are not in Italian). This is why, for all that concerns alternative content, I depend on Italy to a great extent and on the hard work that is being done there to promote these events. I really do find it hard to imagine initiatives from Switzerland that might assist our work in the theatres of Ticino. Nonetheless, over the past few years there have been some slight changes, perhaps partly due to the fine results obtained here at the LUX: distributors are starting to believe more in the importance of targeted promotion in Ticino, especially with regard to the press, the organization of screenings for journalists and previews in the presence of the authors.

(Per leggere il testo in italiano cliccare qui)

Joel Fioroni - cinema manager - Lux Art-house, Massagno (CH)


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