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The Film Which Beat Barbie at Italy’s Box Office 2024

Check out which film performed better than Barbie

Another Female Experience Movie Beats Barbie?

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie may be the most commercially successful picture ever directed by a female filmmaker, as well as the highest-grossing film of 2023. However, it was outperformed at the box office in Italy by another film directed by a woman and explicitly addressing the female experience.

Paola Cortellesi, a 50-year-old actress, writer, and singer, has released There’s Still Tomorrow (C’è Ancora Domani) across Europe, including the United Kingdom. It became a sensation in Italy last year, earning more than both Barbie and Oppenheimer.

As of last month, it had grossed over £31.5 million in cinemas, making it the country’s biggest film of 2023 and the most successful film ever directed by an Italian woman.

A 50 Year Old With a Dream

Cortellesi said that she still can’t quite believe its success. “No-one could ever have predicted the wave of participation and affection from audiences over this movie,” she says.

“I’ve been an actress for about 30 years, and I’ve been writing scripts for the past ten years; now, at the age of 50, I’ve created my first film. And to share the screen and the box office with a huge film like Barbie, which also deals with women’s experiences, must be a good thing.”

About The Film

The heroine, Delia (also portrayed by Cortellesi), experiences horrific physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her husband, which may have contributed to There’s Still Tomorrow’s success in Italy. In the film, Delia is a housewife and mother living in poverty in postwar Rome in 1946, the year Italian women gained the right to vote.

However, the film’s story speaks to modern Italian audiences. According to recent police records, 120 women were murdered in Italy in 2023, or nearly one every three days. According to the report, slightly more than half of them were killed by partners or ex-lovers. A quarter of them were killed by their offspring, the majority of whom were sons.

Femicide became a major issue in Italy in November 2023, just a few weeks after the film There’s Still Tomorrow was released. Mass protests were conducted in response to the death of 22-year-old university student Giulia Cecchettin, who was allegedly murdered by her ex-boyfriend and is currently awaiting trial.

Her burial was attended by thousands of people, and her death sparked widespread demonstrations and calls for greater protection for women.

Cortellesi claims that her film intends to investigate a cultural mindset that “has been going on for millennia”. So-called “crimes of passion” were only criminalized in Italy in 1981, and in July 2023, judges in Rome made international news when a school caretaker was found not guilty of groping a 17-year-old schoolgirl since the sexual assault lasted less than 10 seconds. In Italy, “brief groping” has become a craze on Instagram and TikTok, as has the hashtag #10secondi.

“The subject of the killing of women is unfortunately very, very topical, especially in Italy,” Cortellesi says.


“But femicide is frequently the terrible outcome of something that did not start that way. What we don’t know is the history that has resulted in a horrible act of violence and the death of a woman every 72 hours in Italy. We can only assume a history of violence, which is frequently not reported to police until it worsens.

The homicide of Giulia Cecchettin has sparked a debate in Italy about femicide. The artwork ‘Battered Faces’ addresses domestic abuse.Domestic abuse is ‘nearly diabolical’ according to Pope Francis.
The filmmaker claims that themes of violence against women have been a part of her scriptwriting for years, as well as her stage and screen work as an actor, but she has not directly experienced it.

Cortellesi’s Backstory

“I wanted to make a contemporary film set in the past in order to compare what’s changed and what’s stayed the same,” she explains.

“We might now, as women, have certain rights and safeguards, but what hasn’t changed in society is this mentality that distorts love and turns it into possession. That’s why we need better education.”

Old-fashioned word of mouth is credited for the film’s longevity and financial success, as well as the filmmakers taking the film on to regional towns and cities and holding extensive Q and A sessions alongside the film.

Cortellesi claims that 45% of her audience demographic in Italy were men, which she calls “a great joy”.

“This was never meant to be a film against Italian men, it’s an invitation to share and walk together down the same path in life. I really didn’t want to alienate men from watching the film and think I was pointing an accusing finger at them.

“I think because of the tone of the movie and the way all the different characters were portrayed, men actually identified with the female characters, I could see it in the way they reacted during the film.

“A lot of men felt able to speak up in the Q and A sessions afterwards, and share their own stories, which I often found really moving.”

Finally, the actress and director refers to her 11-year-old daughter as her “muse” for the film, which she describes as “a mother-daughter love story”.

“This whole initiative came about because I was reading my daughter a book on women’s rights, and she couldn’t believe that there was a period when our rights weren’t protected by law. So it dawned to me that we needed to educate younger generations that their rights are not guaranteed,” she says.

“Just because we acquire something does not mean it will last forever. In a manner, I wanted to start handing the torch to the next generation.”

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