The Italian film industry was facing up to the worst box office session in its history this weekend, that was until the country’s government issued a decree shuttering all of its cinemas on Sunday (March 8) for almost a month, meaning it became something of a moot point.
Box office was tracking 94% down on the same period last year at just $504,000 across all titles on release, with the number one movie being Italian biopic Hidden Away, about the painter Antonio Ligabue, which won the best actor honour at last month’s Berlin International Film Festival. The movie took $132,960 from just 19,471 admissions. This weekend’s session was also 79% down on the previous weekend.
Other fare in the top ten included Parasite, Bad Boys For Life, and Sonic The Hedgehog. Disney pushed its release of Pixar movie Onward from March 5 to a new, as-yet undetermined date as it attempts to steer clear of the coronavirus impact.
Italy has been the European nation worst affected by the virus. Today, officials said that the death toll had shot up by 133 to a total of 366, with the total number of infections leaping to 7,375. In response, the government has imposed quarantine rules on some 16 million of its citizens, and has closed schools, gyms, museums and cinemas across the entire nation. The restrictions will last until at least April 3.
Italy is the 10th biggest box office market outside of North America, taking $709.4M in 2019, up 15% on the year before.