I'd say the percentage of Italian films distributed in the US in the 60s was a lot higher, probably closer to a third or even half of the total Italian output. Popular genres like peplums, gothic horror or spy films were tailor-made for US markets, complete with American stars or anglicized names and casts, and at least got some sort of distribution on American cable or played grindhouses, drive-ins or whatever fleapit at various stages.Dylan wrote:According to Peter Bondanella, Italy was raking out 200-300 films a year throughout the sixties, and I'd say we'd get maybe 1/12 of Italy's yearly output distributed over here in some form (either the same year of release, or up to 2-5 years after release depending on what it was), which seems like a lot compared to what we get over here now (what, one Italian film a year?
Rather difficult, though, to find out where and when they were released, since most weren't marketed as Italian films, with distributors chopping 'em up, changing the opening credits, and with fragmented US markets the same film could be released under many different titles. Even well-known films (now, that is) from Bava, Margheriti or Fulci would play Southern drive-ins and a couple of years later would re-appear under a totally different title yet again in some West Coast grindhouse. Most of the time, the audience wasn't even aware they were watching an Italian production.
But, more mainstream 'big' films with name casts and cheapie exploitation and genre outings were a world apart distributionwise, but still, Italian films were by far the most succesful foreign films in the American Market, sometimes even outplaying American productions. Take a look at filmographies of some Italian directors and you'll see almost their entire '60s output got some form of distribution in the US. Italian genrefilms simply dominated the lower end of cinema markets in the '60s all over the world, and these films covered at least half of the total Italian output back then.