UK box office hikes up 27 per cent in 2007

MUMBAI: Year 2007 sees an increase in cinema visits, record summer at the box office, increased market share for British films and a jump in inward investment Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Mr Bean’s Holiday, Hot Fuzz, Miss Potter and Atonement have pushed the market share for British films at the UK box office to 27 per cent in 2007, up from 19 per cent for the whole of 2006, according to the latest figures published today by the UK Film Council.

Film fans have flocked to British cinemas in 2007 with admissions hitting almost 117 million by the end of August, an increase of 12 per cent on the same period in 2006.

The UK Film Council’s research and statistics bulletin which provides the latest film data and market intelligence for 2007 also reveals that the amount of money spent on making films in the UK in the first half of 2007 was £420 million. Inward investment was particularly strong at £324 million compared to £253 million for the first half of 2006 thanks to films such as Sweeney Todd and The Dark Knight.

The range and quality of films on offer, from US blockbusters to British and specialised films made it a bumper six months at the box office. In addition, the traditional jinxes on cinema-going – sunny weather plus major sporting and television events – were absent, giving cinemas a golden opportunity to further boost their admissions.  < Page Break >

July hit a new record as the single biggest month for cinema-going since January 1970, with 21.8 million tickets sold. The last weekend in July was the highest grossing weekend in cinema history as the release of The Simpsons movie and Transformers boosted box office takings to more than £28 million in just three days.

British films also performed successfully: the market share for British films from January to September 2007 was 27 per cent – a 40 per cent increase on the 19 per cent market share achieved for the whole of 2006.

The top film of the year so far is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which has grossed £49.2 million to 23 September. Two home-grown comedies were huge successes at the beginning of the year – Mr Bean’s Holiday grossed over £22 million, while Hot Fuzz grossed £21 million. UK director Paul Greengrass’s The Bourne Ultimatum also grossed £22 million.

Threequels also dominated the summer season. As well as The Bourne Ultimatum, releases included Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Shrek the Third, Spider-Man 3, Ocean’s Thirteen and Rush Hour 3.

Other strong performances came from home grown films Miss Potter (£6.9 million), Atonement (£6.7 million and still on release), Run, Fat Boy, Run (£6.3 million and still on release), Notes on a Scandal (£5.9 million) and The Last King of Scotland (£5.7 million).< Page Break >

Foreign language films also made their mark in UK cinemas. Films in 29 languages including English were released in the first eight months of 2007.

The top five performing foreign languages were Hindi, French, Mayan and German.

Since 2002, foreign language films have become more popular with cinema-goers with several foreign language films breaking through the £1 million barrier at the box office. Top performing foreign language titles in 2007 include Apocalypto (£4.1million), The Lives of Others (£2.6 million), La Vie En Rose (£1.5 million), Tell No One (£1.2 million), and Curse of the Golden Flower (£1.2 million).

The amount of money spent on making films in the UK in the first half of 2007 was £420 million – comparable with 2006.  Inward investment is up and stands at £324 million (compared to £253 million for the first half of 2006), the best six months since 2004. Home-grown UK productions include How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, Brideshead Revisited, St Trinian’s, The Edge of Love, and Revolutionary Road.
Inward investment films made in the UK this year include The Dark Knight, Sweeney Todd, The Tale of Desperaux, Mamma Mia! and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.

UK co-productions fell from 42 in the first half of 2006 to nine in the first six months of 2007. However, they have significantly picked up in the third quarter of 2007 with a further 20 co-productions made in the UK bringing the total number so far this year to 29.

UK Film Council CEO John Woodward said, “It’s been a strong half year of consolidation for film production in the UK. Currently domestic films are steady and we’ve had strong inward investment from the US again this year. When you couple that with the incredibly strong box office for British films you can see that the underlying trends are very healthy.”