Touted as being in the classic Italian comedy vein, "Wheel" stars Elio Germano ("My Brother is an Only Child") as a mover who for decades travels up and down Italy in his van, providing the prism through which changes in Italy from the 1970′s to the present are depicted.
Warner Bros. will release the film in Italy on November 17, following its bow in the Rome Auditorium's 2,000-seat Sala Santa Cecilia venue on November 8. Fandango is selling internationally.
Choice of this film to kick the Eternal City fest's eigth edition, out-of-competition, signals that topper Marco Mueller is taking a more populist tack for his second edition at Rome's helm.
Last year's Rome opener was Russian writer-director Bakhtiar Khudojnazarov's magical realism epic "Waiting for the Sea," which came under attack in the Italian press for being an overly elitist choice.
As previously announced, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" will screen in Rome out-of-competish on November 14, eight days before its U.S. preem and three days after its world premiere in London.
Rome has also already announced the world preem of Jonathan Demme's "Fear of Falling," which reunites Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory, following their cult collaboration on Louis Malle's "My Dinner with Andre" and "Vanya on 42nd Street."
The complete lineup will be announced on October 14. The revamped Eternal City event will run November 8-17.