Small Italian Theaters Survive by Becoming Whorehouses

The phenomenon of failing independent theaters in the age of VOD and the multiplex is so widespread that abandoned theaters became the entire visual motif of The Canyons. But while the market for smaller films is crumbling, illicit sex is recession proof, prompting some enterprising Italian theater owners to get butts in seats by putting, uh… butts in the seats, so to speak.

Police in recent days conducted a series of secret sting operations on cinemas across northern Italy on suspicion that the facilities were being used as fronts for brothels.

It is not clear how many cinemas were raided or how many arrests were made, but one high-profile case has come to light: the Cinema Centrale in the northwestern Italian port city of Genoa, which, according to police, played films haphazardly “spliced together without concern for plot or endlessly looped.”

Hey, but enough about the Transformers franchise. Haha, good one, Jay.

According to an article in the Genoa edition of the La Repubblica newspaper, customers could buy a film ticket and gain entry into a cinema where, “homosexuals, transsexuals, boys, girls, and women” proffered their services “on theater seats, in the bathrooms, the foyer, and even the projection room.”

Visitors to the theater reported that the floor underneath the seats was almost as sticky as before people starting f*cking on it.

The Cinema Centrale is a historic two-screen cinema near the main train station in Genoa that had fallen on hard times with the proliferation of larger multi-screen cinemas in and near the city of 600,000 residents.

Prostitution involving legal adults is legal in Italy, but brothels have been outlawed since 1958. [HollywoodReporter]

Hey! Politzi! Why for-a you raid-a a-my theater? Papa just-a wanna show-a nice-a movie film! If-a the people wanna make-a di boom-boom, no canna control.

[pic via Getty]