Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said over the weekend that Italian movie theaters would be allowed to reopen on June 15 due to the lifting of the coronavirus lockdown ban. But it remains to be seen how many movies will actually be released by then.
Although the slight possibility of nearly 4,000 screens in Italy will be activated next month, the country’s distributors and viewers are eager to release in the summer and are looking for creative solutions to re-launch the film.
“Audiences need to feel safe and comfortable in order to open movie theaters,” said Andre Ochipinti, head of Italian distributor-producer Lucky Reid and head of the national Arthur Theater chain Circuito Cinema.
“As exhibitions, we need to understand how many people will actually go (to the movies),” Ochipinti added, adding that “if theaters were operated under 30% capacity, it would be somewhat economically complicated.”
Another major challenge for the Italian arthouse circuit in the aftermath of the coronavirus epidemic – it has hit Italy hard with more than 31,000 deaths and the longest lockdown in Europe – is the lack of new products. There has been a reluctance to release expensive indie titles in the summer, historically at a time when ticket sales to Italian movie theaters have plummeted.
In the meantime, to keep Italian drama audiences busy, Lucky Red and Circuito Cinema have launched a fancy TV platform scheme called Miosinema. Viewers can pay € 7 (50 7.50) to watch premium movies online, with 40% admission going to their favorite shutter movie theater. Monday (May 18) was one of the most popular headlines from last year’s Cannes with French director Ladz Lai’s “Les Misebrases” launched on Monday (May 18). Soon to follow Julianne Moore-starrer “After the Wedding” and Javier Dolan’s “Matthias and Maximum”.
Ochipinti says that when movie theaters reopen, some titles on the Miosinema platform, such as “Les Mis মিসrables”, could go theatrical way as Italian theaters and other distribution forms have a traditional thematic 105-day window hold. Upon relaunch, movie theaters will still receive a share of the revenue in live-to-platform releases of Mio Cinema, which is still part of the circuit.
“The idea is not to make money from the platform, but to create an ecosystem for arthrocyte titles with centralized movie theaters,” Ochipinti commented.
Launching Wednesday, Iorsteinsala (which translates to “I live in a movie theater”) is another new Italian TV video platform for Arthur movies with similar business models. Leading partners in the platform are prominent Milanese exhibitors Lionello Serri and Gianluca Farinelli. The head of the Bologna Film Archive, which is a small but Important arthohara operates distribution circuits.
Elsewhere, as Italians await the re-opening of the wider cinema, the big innovation is a nationwide outdoor initiative called Movement Village, which is being launched with government support in about 200 regional and drive-ins. Organizers, led by the Italian Motion Picture Association ANICA, are hoping that Hollywood blockbusters such as Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet”, Nicki Minaj’s live-action “Mulan” and “Top Gun: Maverick” will win small Italian and European titles. .
Antonio Medici, head of the Indie BIM Distribution in Italy’s Wild Bunch, said he was “in favor of the summer arena and our interest in keeping our movies there.”
“If the ‘tenet’ is confirmed for Italy in mid-July, it will work for multiplexes,” Ochcipinti added, adding that outdoor fields as well.
Meanwhile, although it is not yet clear when Arthus’ venues will open and run, an Arthur Venue will soon be ready for business at the Cinema Visario in the northeastern Italian city of Udin, the center of the recently canceled East Wall Film Festival, which hosts the event. All year round.
One of the screening venues in Visario is being fully refitted with new seats and a safety distance device called ‘Butterfly’.
Beginning in June, Visionario’s new 173-seater “anti-bacterial eco-leather” new seat will be able to accommodate 105 people, which will allow moviegoers to sit at least 1.10 meters (more than 3.3 feet) apart. The seats will also have protective barriers in the shape of butterfly wings (pictured). Cinema Visionary also claims to be the first venue in the world to adopt this anti-coronavirus protection device.