Italy’s Box Office Recovers in 2023 Thanks to Local Megahit ‘There’s Still Tomorrow,’ Which Beat ‘Barbie’ Most Popular Must Read Sign Up for Variety Newsletters More From Our Brands Viral Watch

Italy’s box office revenue rose in 2023 to €495 million ($542,000) while the country’s admissions tally reached 70.5 million, representing a roughly 60% increase compared with 2022.

Though Italian moviegoing figures – announced Wednesday in Rome by national box office compiler Cinetel – mark a substantial leap forward, they are still down roughly 23% compared with the country’s average box office intake during the period between 2017 and 2019. Prior to the pandemic, the benchmark of a good year was considered 100 million admissions. So, 70.5 million is still way below par.

On the positive side, there is the surprise success of feminist black-and-white dramedy “There’s Still Tomorrow,” about the plight of an abused housewife in post-war Rome, which is the directorial debut of popular Italian actor Paola Cortellesi. “There’s Still Tomorrow” scored a whopping $36 million, landing the No. 1 spot and beating “Barbie” which, at No. 2, pulled roughly $35 million. “Oppenheimer,” in the third spot, took in $30 million at Italian cinemas.

“Theatrical moviegoing, an enrichment for our country, has started growing again sparking conversations in society, in families and among young people after the dark lapse caused by COVID,” said Francesco Rutelli, head of Italy’s motion picture association ANICA, adding: “There is still work to do on this path.”

Indeed, in terms of theatrical admissions, Italy still lags behind major European markets such as France and Germany. However, in 2023 the country was almost on a par with Spain, which tallied 75.4 million admissions, according to Comscore.

While “Still Tomorrow” beat “Barbie” to rule the roost, Hollywood movies continued to dominate the Italian box office, where they commanded a robust 55% of the total theatrical intake. Meanwhile, local movies accounted for a healthy 22% chunk of the pie, in large part thanks to “Still Tomorrow.” Some other homegrown titles also did decent biz, such as Matteo Garrone’s immigration epic “Io Capitano,” which is now Italy’s shortlisted candidate for the international Oscar. “Io Capitano” pulled almost $5 million in Italian cinemas.

The country’s top distributor in 2023 was Warner Bros., followed by Disney, Universal and local distributors Vision Distribution and Eagle Pictures, the Italian indie which also distributes Sony titles in the country.

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