Official Spaghetti Western Box Office Gross thread---Just ask!


(Col. Douglas Mortimer) #1

Ok, so I have Italian box office data for every SW from 1965-78. I also have spanish box office data for a fair number of SW’s as well. My data comes from imdb, and Catalogo Dei Film Italiani, printed by A.G.I.S.

If you want to know how a particular SW faired at the box office please post the name of the movie and I will be happy to look it up for you and post the gross right here. I also have data for not only SW’s, but all other Italian films as well.

All results are in Lire, or ESP, now obsolete currency. I’ve estimated that 1 US dollar is equal to 700 Lire. This is not adjusted for inflation.

I consider any film to gross over 400,000,000 Lire to be a sizable hit (approx. 25-40 percentile of all italian films for that year), while a blockbuster hit would gross over 1000,000,000.

What you need to know: Some results are rather surprising. Some films that did mediocre at the box office have grown in popularity over the years. The Great Silence is an example. Other films were big hits upon its release but have since drowned in obscurity. This may be due to changing tastes over the years, but more often it is due to lack of proper DVD release and television exposure.

Also, keep in mind that this is only for Italian box office data. Italians may well have different taste from Germans, Dutch, Spanish, Finnish, French etc…

For example all the Gemma films were amazingly successful in Italy. Even his average films grossed more than Django and Sartana in Italy, whereas I believe in Germany his films were not quite as popular.

World wide box office gross probably would give a more accurate depiction on the true success of a movie but I don’t have that data. Still, it makes for though provoking discussion.

If anybody can tell me where to find box office data for other countries, especially Germany please let us know.

So ask away!!!


(Romaine Fielding) #2

Hey Col. Mortimer
I was looking at book last night called The Spaghetti Western: A Thematic Analysis by Bert Fridlund. In one of the indexes he has some of the info that you have also located.

He gives the top box office Italian Westerns from 1964-1975 (I think that is the range of years).
He does not rank them but he lists them in ascending order. In essence he lists the top 47 grossing fims.
I was trying to make sense of it. I was wondering about Gemma. The top 10 grossing films were all either Leone films, Trinity films or their clones, & Red Sun.
15 of Gemma’s 17 Spaghettis show up in the top 47 but the highest rank any of his films attains is 15th. He does not crack the top ten. I was wondering if this was because Gemma’s films played most successfully in Italy but not (so much) internationally. All the of the top 10 look to me like they are there because they were internationally successful.
Your post answers my question. Thanks.

It was noteworthy to me that, like Gemma, Franco Nero and Tomas Milian did not crack the top ten with any of their films but they scored big with many of their films that did not make it to the top ten.
Six of Nero’s twelve made it in the top 47 and six of Milian’s fourteen made it. But Gemma, as noted, was the champ among these three.
No films by Garko, Hilton, Lawrence, Steffen, Hill (Craig), Damon, Woods, etc cracked the top 47.

Does all this fall in line with your understanding too?
Thanks


(SARTANA DJANGO BALLADS) #3

Excellent new thread Col. DM :slight_smile:

Please can you post the Italian Box Office Takings for these Top SWS/Giallos :
Also the Spanish box office please if you have them please.

Killer Adios 1968
Killer Caliber 32 1967
Il Bacio Di Una Morta 1974
Mia moglio un corpo per L’amore 1973
Giorni d’amore sul filo di una lama 1973
Il mio corpo con rabbia 1972
La Lunga mano del padrino 1972
Dio in cielo Arizona In terra 1972
Su Le mani cadavere! Sei in arresto 1971
I quattro pistoleri si Santa Trinita 1971
Ancora Dollari per I McGregor 1970
Arriva Sabata 1970
Manos Torpes / Awkward Hands 1970
La furia dei khyber 1970
Garringo 1969
Il tempo di Charleston 1969
La morte sull’alta collina 1969
Una pistola per cento bare 1968
Ad uno ad uno spietatamente 1968
Tempo di sbarco per otto implacabili 1968
Hombre que mato a Billy/Man who killed Billy The Kid 1967
Dove si spara di piu/Fury of Billy The Kid 1967
I giorni della violenza/Days Of Violenze 1967

These are ALL PETER LEE LAWRENCE FILMS if you need to check IMDB titles.

My suggestion to save you typing all the titles again is :

Use INSERT QUOTE of my post TYPE IN the Box Office numbers and then SAVE
Maybe do the Spanish Box office along the same line or separate.

Thanks Col. DM :slight_smile: sorry if the list is long…take your time :wink:


(Col. Douglas Mortimer) #4

Romaine, yes I believe different countries take different preferences. For example, Django was ranked rather low in Fridlund’s list, despite its reputation for being a trend setting phenomenon. I suspect it would have been a much bigger hit in Germany, since they were renaming every movie Django after that.


(Phil H) #5

I have those figures from Fridland also and they do make interesting reading. As both Col.M and RF point out, there are some surprising anomalies betwen the box office success and lasting popularity of a lot of these films.

The Milian example is a good one. There are actually seven of his films which made the top 47 list but three of these were his comedies and would probably be rated by members of this forum as their least favourite of his works. Il Bianco, Il Giallo, Il Nero for example outperformed Faccia a Faccia by around 70%.

The more I thought about this though the more sense it makes. How often do the biggest box office successes become the longest lasting favourites? And in a field of cult films it is not so surprising that this is even more evident.


(Romaine Fielding) #6

THAT is a really good point.


(Stanton) #7

The question is if we really can compare the box office of a film from 68 with a film from 75.

The lire was an extremely unstable currency as far as I remember, so if it’s not inflation adjusted, it maybe is not very helpful.

Without inflation adjustment many american western flops of the 70s and 80s were more successful than 50s box office hits.


(scherpschutter) #8

Did they take re-releases into account?

In many lists you find only the box office results of the initial release. As a result you’ll look in vain for so-called sleepers among the top-grossing films, while in fact they have done (over the years) better than other films, ranked much higher.
Allthough the Dollar trilogy did well, all Leone movies were sleepers. For instance: Once upon in the west did much better in Holland when re-released several times during the 70s and 80s than when it was first released in '69.
I don’t know for sure, but i can imagine that Django was a sleeper too.

As far as Gemma is concerned: he was already a star and a so-called Latin lover when he made his first spaghetti westerns.
The succes of his movies opened the eyes of Italian filmmakers and producers: it turned out to be possible to make a western without an expensive American actor in the lead. Gemma paved the way for other Italian actors like Nero, Hill, Spencer and (italian raised) Garko.
Moreover, with movies like Un dollaro bucato and (especially) Il ritorno di Ringo he stole the heart of virtually every Italian.
In those films he plays a defeated and humiliated, but noble Confederate soldier who must defend himself and his family against all kinds of vermin in a post-war society. Don’t forget that Italy was one of the Axis Powers that lost WO II. The Italians were on the losing side, but they felt they were misled, not only by their German allies, but also by their own leaders (Mussolini’s Fascist Party). Most Italians found it rather easy to identify with the defeated and humiliated, but noble Confederate soldiers Gemma played in his movies. Note that in nearly all Italian westerns set in the post Civil War society, the protagonist is a Southerner (The Hellbenders, Fort Yuma Gold, Cowards don’t pray, Django the Bastard etc.). Those films reflect (in positive or negative) way the specific Italian post war situation, and comment on it. And it’s no wonder that the more positive Gemma movies were more popular in Italy than outside the country.


(Phil H) #9

A good point Scherp but Gemma played a Union soldier in Return of Ringo. At least he was wearing a blue uniform.

The sleeper thing is interesting. I’m really not sure what these figures take into account or not.


(Col. Douglas Mortimer) #10

No problem SD. Italian numbers are in millions of Lire. Spanish are in millions of ESA. 1st number is Italian, 2nd number is Spanish, 3rd number is Spanish admissions. Keep in mind I round off the numbers. For example, 356644333 is 357000000.

For example: Killer Addios
476000000 Lire, 35000000 ESA, 1466000 Spanish Admissions

Killer Adios 1968 476, 35, 1466000
Killer Caliber 32 1967 563
Il Bacio Di Una Morta 1974 413
Mia moglio un corpo per L’amore 1973 144
Giorni d’amore sul filo di una lama 1973 87
Il mio corpo con rabbia 1972 138
La Lunga mano del padrino 1972 199
Dio in cielo Arizona In terra 1972 312, 18, 626000
Su Le mani cadavere! Sei in arresto 1971 ?, 16, 561
I quattro pistoleri si Santa Trinita 1971 390
Ancora Dollari per I McGregor 1970 238, 16, 648000
Arriva Sabata 1970 332, 20, 724000
Manos Torpes / Awkward Hands 1970 ?, 21, 996
La furia dei khyber 1970 118, 18, 819000
Garringo 1969 459, 17. 853000
Il tempo di Charleston 1969 129, 7, 369000
La morte sull’alta collina 1969 344, 35, 1059000
Una pistola per cento bare 1968 246, 25, 963000
Ad uno ad uno spietatamente 1968 265, 15, 927
Tempo di sbarco per otto implacabili 1968 ?
Hombre que mato a Billy/Man who killed Billy The Kid 1967 565, 41, 2268
Dove si spara di piu/Fury of Billy The Kid 1967 240
I giorni della violenza/Days Of Violenze 1967 337


(Col. Douglas Mortimer) #11

Stanton, you make a good point for inflation. I noticed a slight but not great variation. It shouldn’t effect the results too much.

Scherpscutter, I think these are initial run numbers.


(scherpschutter) #12

I noticed that uniform too, but I don’t think it was a Union uniform. It was, I guess, a fantasy uniform.
Anyway the atmosphere is ‘southern’ (think only of the Mexicans who have taken over the Ranch). By the way: this theme - foreigners taking over - would recur more often in SWs; leftists (like Corbucci and Sollima) felt betrayed once more after the war, when a pro-American ‘christian-right’ government took over. Many leftists consired the situation as an occupation (the Americans governing in reality).

But I’ll do some research on that uniform and the movie (but not tomorrow, I’ll have a very busy day).
It’s possible that the film was interpreted the way I described in my previous post, while originally they had no intention to make a ‘political’ western. Anyway, in Un dollaro Bucato (One Silver Dollar) the references are clear (in the Italian version Gemma is even called a treacheress Southerner, I’ve never seen the English version).


(Romaine Fielding) #13

INTERESTING. I had wondered why so many Spaghetti protagonists were Confederates.
When I view American westerns I am always thinking that they are more reflective of the times in which they were made than the historical times they attempt to portray.
I have often thought that if this is true of American westerns it may also be true of Italian Westerns.
But, unlike my knowledge of American history and culture, I have no great sense of Italy in the 50’s and 60’s. Your comment was very useful in providing the context for viewing Spaghetti westerns set in the Civil War period.
Your observation had never occured to me but, once explained, it makes perfect sense.


(Phil H) #14

[quote=“scherpschutter, post:12, topic:851”]I noticed that uniform too, but I don’t think it was a Union uniform. It was, I guess, a fantasy uniform.
Anyway the atmosphere is ‘southern’ (think only of the Mexicans who have taken over the Ranch). By the way: this theme - foreigners taking over - would recur more often in SWs; leftists (like Corbucci and Sollima) felt betrayed once more after the war, when a pro-American ‘christian-right’ government took over. Many leftists consired the situation as an occupation (the Americans governing in reality).

But I’ll do some research on that uniform and the movie (but not tomorrow, I’ll have a very busy day).
It’s possible that the film was interpreted the way I described in my previous post, while originally they had no intention to make a ‘political’ western. Anyway, in Un dollaro Bucato (One Silver Dollar) the references are clear (in the Italian version Gemma is even cal
led a treacheress Southerner, I’ve never seen the English version).[/quote]

Point taken Scherp. And it certainly would fit for Fort Yuma Gold too.


(SARTANA DJANGO BALLADS) #15

Thank you very much Col. DM that was quick , efficient work on PLL Box Office Takings :slight_smile:
I may have more work for you soon :wink: Your thread here is very popular well done.


(Phil H) #16

While we are at it Colonel could you give us the figures for the following?

The Great Silence
A Bullet for the General
Django, Kill
Cemetery without Crosses
Mannaja

These are the other films from our top twenty list which are not listed in Fridlund’s book.


(Romaine Fielding) #17

I’d be interested in what you find out about Ringo’s uniform. It is almost definitely a Union cavalry uniform right down to the yellow neckerchief.
I’ll look at the film again tonight as well.

Be careful about concluding that because the setting in near the Mexican border that it likely it represents a Southern context. There were both Yankee and Confederate sympathizers in the Southwest.

Not that this means anything but in the first Ringo film, I seem to recall Antonio Casas talking to Nieves Navarro about Boston (implying that he lived there once). Would Tessari change the nominal alignment of Ringo from North to South? Yeah, he just might.


(alk0) #18

Col. Douglas Mortimer, could you please provide me with box office information on Tony Anthony westerns? Thanks in advance


(Phil H) #19

[quote=“Romaine Fielding, post:17, topic:851”]I’d be interested in what you find out about Ringo’s uniform. It is almost definitely a Union cavalry uniform right down to the yellow neckerchief.
I’ll look at the film again tonight as well.

Be careful about concluding that because the setting in near the Mexican border that it likely it represents a Southern context. There were both Yankee and Confederate sympathizers in the Southwest.

Not that this means anything but in the first Ringo film, I seem to recall Antonio Casas talking to Nieves Navarro about Boston (implying that he lived there once). Would Tessari change the nominal alignment of Ringo from North to South? Yeah, he just might. [/quote]

Just to fan these flames a bit more, I seem to recall Montgomery Brown’s coffin (althoutgh fake I know) was draped in a union flag not a rebel one.


(Phil H) #20

I’m pretty sure. But my memory has been known to fail on more than one occasion. I’ll check it later and let you know.