Italian comedy passes "Avatar" five-day gross record

Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:06pm EST

ROME (Hollywood Reporter) - "Che bella giornata" ("What a Beautiful Day"), the new comedy from television comedian Checco Zalone, has surpassed "Avatar" for the all-time record for earnings during its first five days, raking in €18.6 million ($24.9 million).

The Medusa-backed film, which earned more than €7 million ($9.4 million) in the opening weekend, creates a promising start to the year just days into the new year.

James Cameron's "Avatar" set the previous record almost exactly a year earlier en route to a total Italian box off haul of €56.7 million ($88.1 million).

That was around 8% of the total spent on films in Italy last year and more than double the year's second highest grossing film, "Alice in Wonderland." The film opened on 775 screens January 7.

Next in the sites for "Che bella giornata:" the all-time record for domestic earnings from an Italian film -- €31.2 million ($41.8 million) from Roberto Benigni's "La Vita e' Bella" ("Life is Beautiful").

Like "La Vita e' Bella," the 1997 three-time Oscar winning comedy set during World War II's holocaust, "Che bella giornata" covers unlikely comic territory, centering around Islamic extremism.

Medusa, the films main producer and distributor, is a subsidiary of Mediaset, the broadcast giant controlled by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

(Editing by Zorianna Kit)

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