Italian exhibitors are officially not happy about the front loading of blockbusters in the early part of this year. From The Hollywood Reporter:
Paolo Protti, president of the [Italy’s national association of exhibitors], known as ANEC, called the situation the “cannibal effect” — meaning too many popular films in distribution force moviegoers to choose between too many options.
ANEC said that some of the top films released so far this year, both Hollywood and domestic fare, should be held for months closer to the traditionally slow summer season.
It seems some of these are end-of-last-year US blockbusters such as ‘I Am Legend’ and ‘American Gangster’, local films and films that only ever have the potential to be blockbusters in Europe (Woody Allen’s latest). Since Italian exhibitors only recently embraced the summer as a viable blockbuster season, it seems a bit rich about them trying to re-arrange distributors calendar so soon. But if distributors see the ‘cannibal effect’ (and we don’t mean the flesh eating hordes chasing Will Smith through Manhattan) then they will surely respond.