Vatican attempts to derail gay-themed "Weekend" at Italian box office

Despite attempts by the Vatican to block it, gay-themed "Weekend" did well at the Italian box office. Imdb photo provided.

Despite attempts by the Vatican to block the film, Andrew Haigh's 2011 gay-themed film Weekend opened big in Italy this weekend, pulling in a strong more than $6,221 per screen, albeit on just 10 screens.

According to Variety, the film's distributor, Teodora, lamented last week that bookings for Weekend, were suddenly cut down to ten screens after the Italian Bishop’s Conference Film Evaluation Commission classified the pic as “not advised, unusable and scabrous (indecent or salacious).”

The Vatican owns many of the country’s arthouse movie theaters. While it does not operate them, it can hold sway on their programming, though this rarely occurs.

On Monday Teodora trumpeted its Weekend numbers, boasting that the gay love story set during a weekend in Nottingham between 34-year-old Russell (Tom Cullen), a lifeguard at a public swimming pool, and conceptual artist Glen (Chris New) was the top per-screen earner in Rome. Pic pulled more than $17,000 from one screen at arthouse Quattro Fontane, which is more than any other single movie screen take in that frame in the Italian capital, including multiplexes.

According to a Towleroad report, Teodora president Cesare Petrillo said:

“I cannot see any other explanation than a problem of homophobia in the Church. They decided it was unacceptable, that it should be censored and they have used their power to paralyze the distribution. Normally a film like this would have been picked up by many of these cinemas. Instead there are whole regions and big cities like Florence, Bergamo and Padova where we have not been able to get it put on. And the only reason for that is that the main characters are gay.”


The Gayly- 3/15/2016 @ 3:06 PM CST.