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1/15/123 - Muccino's 'Playing for Keeps' scores at home

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ROME -- After bombing at the U.S. box office, Italo helmer Gabriele Muccino's soccer romcom "Playing for Keeps" has bowed boffo in Italy, pulling $2.6 million in its opening frame and helping to kick off 2013 nicely for homegrown helmers, who lost a roughly 10% local market share last year.The Gerard Butler starrer, released wide in Italian cinemas by Medusa on 435 screens and scoring the numero uno slot, is being dubbed "Muccino's revenge" by the Italo press. Muccino in local interviews has underlined that the release strategy for "Playing" in the U.S. was flawed because pic's core femme aud was too busy Christmas shopping when it bowed.

Stateside "Playing" has pulled a mere $13 million to date after its flop $6 million opening over the Dec. 7, 2012, weekend via FilmDistrict.

Muccino's Italo boost follows the strong Italo box office bow of fellow Italo helmer Giuseppe Tornatore, whose English-language artworld mystery, "The Best Offer," toplining Geoffrey Rush, has now pulled a solid $6.7 million locally in two frames via Warner Bros., and is currently ensconced in the number two Italo slot.

"The year has started out well," noted Riccardo Tozzi, prexy of Italo motion picture association ANICA at its annual presser on Tuesday about local box office data.

"The only way for the Italian market to grow is if local movies click. It's crucial, and that is what we are working on."

According to ANICA data Italo box office grosses were down 8% to $811 million in 2012, with Hollywood accounting for a solid 53% of the pie, a 5% rise in Italo grosses compared with 2011.

Meanwhile the market share for Italo films plunged by more than 10% to 25% of the country's total intake.

Italy's top distributor in 2012 was Warner Bros. with $180 million for a 22% share of total Italo grosses.

Author: Nick Vivarelli

Source: http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118064670/

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