$3 billion box office bonanza for British film in 2007

Mumbai: British films were a $3 billion hit last year, according to the latest statistics published by the UK Film Council.

They accounted for more than one in four cinema tickets sold in the UK – or 29% of the total UK box office, up from 19% in 2006.  Internationally, Brit films pulled in the crowds taking $3.3 billion worldwide, equal to 700 million admissions across the globe and an increase of 50% on 2006’s figure of $2.2 billion.

Compiled by the UK Film Council’s Research and Statistics Unit, the Statistical Yearbook presents the most comprehensive picture of film in the UK during 2007.

Seven of the top 20 films at the UK box office in 2007 were British.  Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was the biggest film of the year earning over £49 million and the other top British films were The Golden Compass (£26 million), The Bourne Ultimatum (£23 million), Mr Bean’s Holiday (£22 million), Hot Fuzz (£20 million), Stardust (£15 million), St Trinian’s (£12 million) and Atonement (£12 million).  Together, the top 20 UK films grossed £244 million at the UK box office, an increase of 62% on 2006 (£151 million).

The report also highlights the success of Lottery funded films over the past decade.  The top three independent UK films of the last ten years – Gosford Park (£12.3million), St Trinian’s (£12.2million) and Bend it like Beckham (£11.6million) – were all co-funded by the UK Film Council.

Of the top 200 films at the worldwide box office from 2001-2007, 30 were based on stories and characters created by UK writers.  Those films have earned in excess of $14 billion demonstrating the impact of UK talent on the global film industry.

This success has also been demonstrated through the number of awards for UK films and talent.  A total of 173 awards were won at the major award and film festivals in 2001-2007.  In 2007 alone, the UK scooped 32 awards, 15% of the total, including Helen Mirren’s Best Actress Oscar for her role in The Queen.

The last decade has seen a 50% increase in UK box office takings while July 2007 was the biggest single month of cinema-going in Britain for almost 40 years.  Film fans had a greater choice of films – 516 films were released, a 58% increase over the decade.

2007 saw an increase in both box office and admissions.  Admissions were 162 million, up 4% on 2006 and reversing a two year decline, while box office receipts totalled £821 million a rise of 8% on 2006’s £762 million.  This was in contrast to most other European countries which recorded a fall in ticket sales, German and Spain were down 8% on admissions while France slipped 6%.

UK Film Council chief executive officer John Woodward said, "These statistics show that in the UK we make films in every genre from comedy to fantasy to thrillers and British films took more than $3.3 billion across the globe last year."

"Of course the future is not without challenges; winning film investment is going to be tough with the fallout from the US writers’ strike and the looming actors’ strike while the threat of film piracy looms larger as broadband download speeds become faster," he further added.

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