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The new 2023 budgets

Lots of interesting data on this year’s budgets, with three series over 40 million and the new films by Luca Guadagnino and Gabriele Mainetti. Important costs, but what do they tell us about the future?

I have already analyzed the budgets of Italian audiovisual productions, both for films and series. Today, we’ll see what the most interesting news is on all these fronts (as always, the data can be found on the website of the Direzione generale cinema, often in the form of estimates, so they may undergo changes with the actual figures)…

The films As I mentioned last time I talked about budgets and films, the title that so far represents the highest investment, Finalmente l’alba (29,105,197 euros), is an international co-production, so it cannot be compared to other Italian productions (but it is still a domestic production). The same goes for Memorie da Mexico City by Luca Guadagnino, which costs 33,428,743 euros and is completely Italian. The new film by Gennaro Nunziante with Pio and Amedeo, Come può uno scoglio (also known as Una presta libertà), exceeds ten million, with a budget of 10,837,164 euros. After Freaks Out, a very important bet on the new film by Gabriele Mainetti, Kung fu all’amatriciana, which has a budget of 16,882,672 euros. On the same, identical levels of Grazie ragazzi, the new film by Riccardo Milani, Un mondo a parte (7,260,669 euros).

An interesting budget (but by now we should almost define it as ‘average’, at least when we talk about certain products, those below 8 million) for Simone Godano’s new film Sei fratelli, which costs 6,440,528 euros. Under five million (to be precise, 4,519,288 euros) is Nata per te by Fabio Mollo, based on the book of the same name by Luca Mercadante and Luca Trapanese. Finally, we are not talking about a cinema film, but still a great author (also from a commercial point of view), Ferzan Ozpetek, who will bring his new feature film Nuovo olimpo to Netflix, with a budget (8,270,412 euros, which obviously does not include the premium fee with which platforms acquire complete rights to a work) that these days means not entering the top 15 of the most expensive titles. At this point, it is worth proposing (with some updates) the ranking of cinema film budgets for 2023 (new entries are in green):

Series from streaming platforms

Fundamental premise: since almost all of these products have not been released yet, the data from the Ministry are obviously provisional and the reported durations are therefore only indicative and not definitive. Let’s start with Netflix, which has the highest budget for an Italian production with the series of Il gattopardo, which as expected (given the project’s commitment) has a significant cost of 40,581,693 euros (six episodes, approximately 5 hours in duration). We then move on to Inganno (6 episodes, around 4h30’), which has a budget of 10,323,190 euros. Much lower costs for the second season of Di4ri (5,510,374 euros, for approximately 6 hours in duration) and the sixth season of Skam, which with a cost of 3,146,917 euros for 10 episodes (approximately 5 hours), confirms itself as a product that can boast a good ratio between budget and (probable) results. Finally, it should be noted (to avoid misunderstandings) that the series Decameron (budget 56,267,111 euros for 8 episodes and 7 hours), filmed in Italy, is a foreign production and does not concern the Italian branch of the platform. At this point, it is worthwhile to review an infographic on Netflix’s productions from the last year (released or not), to highlight an important point:

If I’m not mistaken, according to the budget data I have, the five major titles you see above should also be the most expensive ones on the platform so far. Should we take this as a signal that Netflix Italy wants to focus on fewer titles, but more important/expensive ones? On the other hand, the productions we’re talking about may have been approved a year ago, even if the strategy I suggested was true, it doesn’t necessarily apply to the present.

Let’s move on to Sky. The most important bet of 2023 is undoubtedly the adaptation of Antonio Scurati’s book M. – Il figlio del secolo, which includes 8 episodes for just under 7 hours, with a budget of 49,323,021 euros. There are also a number of important productions with budgets between thirteen and sixteen million euros. We’re talking about the second season of Il re (8 episodes, just under 7 hours) for 16,241,901 euros; L’arte della gioia (debut as a serial director for Valeria Golino, 6 episodes, about 5 hours) for 15,706,996 euros; another debut in series, this time for the D’Innocenzo brothers, Dostoevskij (6 episodes, about 5 hours) for 14,415,715 euros; and Un’estate fa (8 episodes, about 6 hours and 40 minutes) for 13,058,297 euros. Sky’s commitment to prestige series for an adult audience is certainly confirmed.

Now let’s move on to other platforms, starting with Amazon Prime Video Italy. The platform has renewed Le avventure di Carlo Monterossi, with 5 episodes and about 5 hours, for a budget of 6,095,000 euros, as well as Prisma, with a cost of 7,981,782, increased by about 700k compared to the first season (but the duration also seems to have increased, from 4 to 5 hours).

Finally, Paramount+ has been working for some time on the second season (the first was on Amazon) of Vita da Carlo (10 episodes, about 5 hours), for a cost of 7,820,994 euros, while Disney+ has worked on Uonderboys (6 episodes, about 5 and a half hours), for a budget of 13,664,382 euros.

RAI series
In a landscape of very contained costs and generally very satisfactory results for Rai productions, the series of L’amica geniale has always stood out for decidedly higher budgets. But, on the other hand, it is an important international co-production, which also involves a giant like HBO and is therefore not comparable to other Rai titles. In this case, for the adaptation of the fourth and final book, Storia della bambina perduta, we have gone from the eight episodes we were used to in the previous three seasons to ten episodes, for just over 8 hours and a budget of 56,840,518 euros.

The other productions, as mentioned above, remain with an excellent cost/minute/probable positive results ratio (considering the brilliant past seasons of these products). We’re talking about the third season of Imma Tataranni, sostituto procuratore, with four evenings of a total of 6h40′ and a budget of 9,172,521 euros; the same duration for the fourth season of I Bastardi di Pizzofalcone, for 8,344,405 euros, and the third season of Makari for 8,382,875 euros; finally, the second seasons of Blanca, which will have six evenings like the original and a budget of 12,073,105 euros, and Un professore (we’re talking about 10h, so they will probably be five evenings, but this is not indicated in the Ministry’s data) for 9,867,263 euros.

And the future?
An important clarification must be made: even if we discover the reported budgets in these days, it is clear that they are the result of choices (and approvals of broadcasters/platforms) made in the past, perhaps even a year ago. In short, it does not mean that this level of budget (and/or the number of products interested in these figures) will continue in the future, in a landscape that sees different situations of uncertainty. We will see the news in the next semester and understand better where we are going…

Robert Bernocchi
E' stato Head of productions a Onemore Pictures e Data and Business Analyst at & BoxOffice.Ninja. In passato, responsabile marketing e acquisizioni presso Microcinema Distribuzione, marketing e acquisizioni presso MyMovies.