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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

July 23, 2014 at 10:02 AM

A movie-studio theme park . . . in Rome

When in Rome, go to a theme park. In today’s most intriguing bit of movie-related news, the New York Times reports that the famed Cinecitta film studio has opened a new theme park this summer, a tribute to its golden era. Cinecitta was inaugurated in 1937, and in its prime saw more than 350 movies a year filmed there. Among them: Italian classics from the likes of Federico Fellini, Roberto Rossellini and Vittorio De Sica, as well as big-budget American efforts like “Ben-Hur” and “Cleopatra” — leading to the studio’s designation as Hollywood on the Tiber. But in recent years, the studio has struggled with budget deficits; only 50 films have been shot there in the past six years.  Studio executives are hoping that the new park, Cinecitta World, will bring a financial boost and raised awareness. Its attractions include not just the usual movie-themed roller coasters (though they’re there), but a re-creation of 1920s Manhattan created by production designer Dante Ferretti (“Hugo,” “Sweeney Todd,” “The Aviator”), an entrance that steps visitors through the jaws of the Temple of Moloch (from the 1914 Italian silent film “Cabiria”), and background music created for the park by Ennio Morricone, who composed the scores to many Cinecitta classics (i.e. “Once Upon a Time in the West”). Interesting story; read the whole thing here.

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