UK sees prod spends of £723 million in 2007

MUMBAI: The amount of money spent on making films in the UK in 2007 including Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Sweeney Todd, Brideshead Revisited and How to Lose Friends and Alienate People totalled £723 million.

British cinemas enjoyed a strong year with £904 million taken at the box office, eight per cent higher than 2006. British films performed well accounting for 28 per cent of cinema takings, up from 19 per cent in 2006 and the third highest since records began in 1996, according to new figures published by the UK Film Council.

Film Production spending in the UK

According to statistics that cover films with production budgets of £500,000 and above, production spending in 2007 totalled £722.9 million with the UK involved in the making of 112 feature films. The year was lower than 2006’s total of £855 million which was the second highest year on record. The fall was influenced by the weak dollar against international currencies, the writers’ strike in the US, and the effect of the structure of the new tax credit on co-productions.

The figures cover the UK spend of indigenous UK film production, inward investment productions (films with finance from overseas but made mainly or significantly in the UK), inward co-productions, and UK co-productions filmed both in the UK and abroad using UK crew and expertise for the calendar year 2007.< Page Break >

The statistics which are based on financial information supplied by the film industry show:

1) The UK was involved in the production of a total of 112 feature films (down from 135 in 2006) including 58 UK feature films (up from 54 in 2006), 26 inward investment films (28 in 2006) and 28 UK co-productions (53 in 2006).

2) Total film production spending in the UK decreased by 15 per cent to £723 million from 2006’s £855 million which was the second highest year on record. 2007 was up 36 per cent on 2005’s figure of £531 million.

3) Inward investment from international filmmakers, such as the major Hollywood studios locating productions in the UK, decreased by 13.9 per cent but still brought £508 million into the British economy. (£590 million in 2006 and £282 million in 2005). No films fell into the inward co-production category in 2007.

4) Inward investment films included David Yates’ Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince; Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd; Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight (Batman); and Jean-Marc Vallée’s The Young Victoria starring Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend.

5) 58 UK indigenous feature films were produced in 2007 (up from 54 in 2006 and 39 in 2005) the total UK spend at £141 million was slightly down on 2006’s £153.1 million.

6) UK indigenous films included Beeban Kidron’s Hippie Hippie Shake; Julian Jarrold’s Brideshead Revisited; Mike Leigh’s Happy Go Lucky; Oliver Parker and Barnaby Thompson’s St Trinian’s; John Maybury’s The Edge of Love starring Keira Knightley, Cillian Murphy and Sienna Miller; and Robert B Weide’s How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.

7) The UK was involved in 28 co-productions with a total UK spend of £73.8 million one third down on 2006’s figure of £112 million with 53 films.  These included Saul Dibb’s The Duchess, Gabor Csupo’s The Secret of Moonacre and Jorge Blanco’s Planet 51. While there was some pick-up in the third quarter of 2007, co-production activity was significantly down when compared with previous years. Some of this was expected given that the new tax relief incentivises spend inside the UK so there has been a corresponding realignment particularly with regard to minority co-productions.< Page Break >

UK Box Office

UK cinemas enjoyed a good year with box office earnings up eight per cent at £904 million for the UK and Republic of Ireland compared to £840 million for 2006.

British films’ share of those ticket sales was 28 per cent, up from 19 per cent in 2006, and the third highest in twelve years. There were seven UK titles in the top 20, up from just three in 2006. These included Mrean’s Holiday earning £22 million and Hot Fuzz taking £20 million at the UK box office.

The strong performance by UK films at the box office last year reflected the improved production situation in 2006.

The highest grossing film of 2007 was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix taking £49 million followed by Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End with £40 million.

There was also evidence of film fans going to see a wider range of films with a number of ‘specialised’ or non mainstream films proving popular including The Lives of Others (£2.68m), La Vie En Rose (£1.58m), Tell No One (£1.19m) and The Curse of the Golden Flower (£1.16m).

UK Film Council CEO John Woodward said, “2007 was a strong year for film production in the UK and infinitely better than everyone was predicting this time last year. Whilst the figures are slightly down on 2006’s spectacular performance, we have to take into account that 2006 was an exceptional year.”

“There is clear evidence in these statistics that yet again the UK has shown its strength by making both the bigger budget commercial films alongside smaller equally powerful films which challenge and inspire audiences and win awards all over the world.”

“Inevitably we have been affected by the weak dollar against stronger international currencies and the bedding down of the structure of the new tax credit for the different types of film being produced in the UK.”

“As a result, 2007 saw a significant drop in co-production activity. Some of this was expected given that the tax break is geared towards encouraging only shooting and post production in the UK. However, we will be looking at this in much more detail as part of a wider study the Government has asked us to undertake with regard to the state of the industry following the introduction of the new tax credits.”

“2008 should prove to be another strong year for UK films at the box office with the new Bond, Harry Potter, Brideshead Revisited, The Other Boleyn Girl, and How to LoseFriends and Alienate People all due for release over the next twelve months.”

“On the production front 2008 is set to be a tougher year with the US writers’ strike continuing to have an impact and a possible US actors’ strike but thanks to the skills and creativity of our filmmaking talent we are in a good place to ride it out.”