Independent figures published today by the BFI show that the UK film industry is making a significant contribution to the UK economy, new tax reliefs for high-end television and animation programmes are helping to drive production investment alongside the existing film tax relief which plays a major role in attracting international productions to the UK and provides vital support for UK independent productions, and cinema continues to attract UK audiences in their millions.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said:
Today’s figures highlight the valuable cultural and economic contribution that our creative industries make to the UK. These fast growing sectors are creating jobs across the country and each new job means security for another family. I want to build on this success and showcase the world class talent this country has, encouraging more films and TV programmes to be made here.
Amanda Nevill, CEO of the BFI, says:
Film and television is a global business and these statistics show a vibrant and dynamic picture, demonstrating that the UK is a leading international player in this sector. We are grateful for the government’s ongoing recognition of the sector’s growth potential and tax reliefs for film, high-end TV and animation, which ensure we remain one of the most attractive and competitive places in the world to do business. The BFI’s role is to maximise these opportunities, and we are actively engaged with government and all our partners in programmes to capitalise on all the opportunities for further growth in established territories such as the US and Europe, and the important emerging territories such as China and Brazil.
Internationally our filmmakers, talent and creativity are wowing audiences and attracting critical acclaim at international festivals, and have garnered a crop of well deserved awards nominations. However, these figures show that there is still work to be done to grow audiences for British film at home – something which lies at the heart of our Film Forever strategy and is an economic and cultural imperative for the future success of British film.
The UK film production sector generated a total spend of £1.075 billion in 2013, a 14% increase on 2012’s £945 million. Within this figure, £868 million was generated by 37 major international films making the UK their production base, having a positive impact on the UK’s film industry in the round by bringing investment, creating jobs, and helping crew develop new skills which in turn benefit independent productions.
Inward investment from international film productions accounted for 81% of spend in the UK and accelerated as the year progressed, a credit to the work of the British Film Commission which provides free professional advice to help attract productions from the US to the UK. These 37 films include The Man From U.N.C.L.E, Heart of the Sea and Jupiter Ascending for Warner Bros which owns Warner Leavesden Studios; Muppets Most Wanted, Cinderella and Into the Woods for Walt Disney which has a partnership with Pinewood Studios; Guardians of the Galaxy for Marvel; Far From the Madding Crowd for Fox Searchlight; Ex-Machina, The Secret Service, Frankenstein, Monuments Men (with Sony) and Exodus (with Scott Free) for 20th Fox; Modecai for Lionsgate; Good People and Before I Go To Sleep for Millennium Films; and Paddington for StudioCanal.
The momentum for big budget inward investment film and television productions coming to the UK is continuing into 2014 with the new Star Wars, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, 24 and Gallivant all going into production this year.
The film tax relief plays a major role in attracting international productions to the UK and also provides vital support for UK independent productions. Following the introduction of new tax reliefs in 2013, the BFI is for the first time reporting high-end television and television animation production, although the statistics only cover nine months from April when the new tax reliefs for high-end television and animation were introduced. During this period, over £276 million of investment was made in domestic UK productions (£118 million from 36 projects) and inward investment television productions (£158 million from 13 projects) including Game of Thrones, Outlander, Da Vinci’s Demons and Elementary.
Domestic UK film production saw a similar number of films budgeted £500,000 and upwards made during the year (62 in 2013, down from 65 in 2012), but the total spend of these films was lower- £139 million, down from 2012’s £229 million. The number of co-productions was 36, down from 45 in 2012 with a production spend of £54 million (£75 million in 2012) and included The Trip to Italy (director Michael Winterbottom); Suite Francaise (director Saul Dibb); Frank (director Lenny Abramson) and Epic (director Ben Hopkins).
The range of UK domestic films that went into production in 2013 reflects a diverse and distinctive UK industry, for example, Mr Turner (writer and director Mike Leigh); Black Sea (director Kevin Macdonald); Belle (director Amma Asante); Posh (director Lone Scherfig); Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (director Declan Lowney); Locke (director Steven Knight ); The Silent Storm (director Corinna McFarlane); Our Robot Overlords (director Jon Wright); Starred Up (director David Mackenzie); The Face of an Angel (director Michael Winterbottom); Untitled Amy Winehouse documentary (director Asif Kapadia); Hello Carter (director Anthony Wilcox); The Theory of Everything (director James Marsh); Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey? (director Debbie Isitt); X Plus Y (director Morgan Matthews); ’71 (director Yann Demange) which is premiering in competition at the Berlin Film Festival next week; and Pride (director Matthew Warchus) with its cast of leading British actors.
2013 marked the third consecutive year that the overall UK box office crossed the £1 billion barrier, though total takings were down 1% on the previous year. Admissions continue to reflect the plateau trend which has typified the UK cinema business over the past decade, with 165.5 million tickets sold, a 4% dip on 2012.
August 2013 proved to be the busiest month of the year with 17.64 million admissions fuelled by Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Smurfs 2, Kick-Ass2, The Conjuring and Elysium. A highpoint came at the end of the year with Frozen and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug helping to produce the strongest December for cinema since 2009 when global hit Avatar was released. However, overall, 2012 was always going to be a hard act to follow with Skyfall, the highest grossing film in UK box office history, playing such a huge part in taking 2012’s ticket sales to 172.5 million.
The 3D animation sequel Despicable Me 2 was the highest grossing film of 2013 with £47.5 million, followed by The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Les Misérables, Iron Man 3, Frozen, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Monsters University, Man of Steel, Gravity, and The Croods, some of which were co-productions with the UK. A total of 46 3D films were released in 2013, slightly up on 2012’s 43 releases and with takings of £204.2 million, represented an 18% market share of the box office.
The highest grossing UK independent release of the year was the BAFTA and Oscar-nominated Philomena, which grossed over £11 million (up to 19 January) followed by Quartet (£8.6 million), I Give It A Year (£6.2 million), Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (£6.17 million) and Sunshine on Leith (£4.6 million). These films, together with US studio-backed British films such as Les Misérables, Gravity, World War Z, and Fast & Furious 6, all featuring UK cast, crew, locations, facilities, post-production and often British source material, gave the UK a combined market share of 21% (16% for UK/US studio-backed films, 6% for British independent films).