Recapturing the thrill of cinema on the big screen is not a romantic slogan. In reality this has never been the case, but it is clear that for those who live far from the cinematographic universe intended as a professional and productive sector, this set can only evoke vintage flavors. The subject, on the other hand, is closer dramatic thriller than to comedy, because the existence of cinemas is increasingly threatened in the future. Indeed, when it is easy to subscribe to the “centrality of space” from the political and cultural departments, the firm and concerned response of the professionals can only thunder: “(of course) space is central but the cinemas are empty“. The extraordinary character of the emergency is such that it has united in the alarmed chorus the two main television competitors of the Italian cine distribution: on the one hand Rai with Rai cinema and on the other Mediaset with jellyfish.
Together they wrote and disseminated in the Corriere della Sera an “Open Letter” with mandatory requests to be issued the day after the obligatory mask maintenance in the rooms until at least 15.6a regulation to protect against infection, which, as is well known, no longer applies to all closed rooms, but from tomorrow, 1.
Therefore, in a hemorrhage that at the continental level seems to be specifically affecting the Italian territory, the cinemas are constantly being penalized and drastically emptier, although Covid-19 has affected all of Europe. Numbers in hand are merciless: Italy is the only major European country to show a negative sign (-7%) of revenue 2021 compared to 2020 (France + 47.5%, Great Britain + 75%, Germany + 20%, Spain + 45%) and comparing the period of “full opening” (from April 2021) with the same period of the triennium 2017-2019 marks a decrease between 50 and 60%. In absolute terms, the total revenue loss (box office + concessions) in 2021 compared to 2019 was around €700 million and for 2022 a decrease of almost 60% is estimated, equivalent to €600 million. In this context, Italian cinema has been the most affected and is therefore of great concern.
“These are values that call into question the survival of the entire system“Denounce Rai and Mediaset. “It is therefore time to ask ourselves about possible future scenarios and try to formulate indispensable and urgent proposals for the Italian film industry.” While recognizing that the government and the Ministry of Culture “have always been closely linked to the sector and in “These two years have secured the tools and resources to first deal with the emergency and then support the reconstruction”, the competitors, who are now partners, believe “a further effort is needed”. There are therefore four suggestions “to avert a dangerous drift in the Italian cinema system. These are structural interventions for the sector, but their implementation does not require any particular investment of time and resources”. Here they are listed:
chronology. What was recently announced by Minister Franceschini regarding a 90-day window for all films is commendable and responds to the need for a regulation after an unclear period regarding the chronology of film releases. However, we fear that this will not be enough to return the hall to the centrality it deserves: we understand that while the 15 months adopted in France are effective (just think that in 2021 96 million tickets were sold across the Alps compared to 25 million in Italy) are difficult to achieve, but we believe that 180-day theatrical protection window is reasonable and necessary for at least the next three years. In terms of chronology, the interventions we propose concern in particular:
The same release windows for all films (Italian and foreign);
180-day window to protect exit from room compared to other exploitsat least for the next three years (which will eventually return to 105 days before the pandemic).
Tax Credit for Distribution. The distribution tax credit is an intervention in favor of the product and not the distributor; It does not bring the audience to the cinemas, but allows films to reach the cinemas with a good communication campaign, essential to attract viewers and limit economic losses in times of crisis. This measure makes it possible to invest more in the film’s advertising campaign and give the product greater visibility. We therefore consider it appropriate to extend the rate of this instrument to 60% for three years.
Production tax credit. We think it useful to distinguish a priori between films that are planned to be released in cinemas and films that are aimed at other uses. A theatrical film brings with it a higher economic potential, attributed to the launch and the associated longer production chain, where every element, including the star system, is upgraded. For these reasons, we propose the following interventions through a redesign of the tax credit:
Tax credit for the production of works with priority theatrical release at 40%;
30% tax credit for the production of cinematographic works intended for uses other than theatrical uses, including those using the results of the event.
Regulation of the use of the 3-day event exit and the so-called “technical exits”.“. It is necessary to intervene with a clear regulation on the exploitation of the event, which in order to optimize the delivery of special audiovisual products (concerts, historical, cultural and artistic events) has unfortunately been used in recent months as a real trick to get around the around the window and get to the other exploits faster.
The letter, signed by Rai Cinema CEO Paolo Del Brocco and Medusa Film CEO Giampaolo Letta, concludes with the hope of “can intervene in time and truly giving the space the central role it deserves within the industry.