2011 was a record year for the UK film industry, according to the latest stats from the BFI.
UK films took $5.6bn at the global box office, a 17% market share, while at home film production generated record levels of inward investment for the UK economy, according to the BFI’s 2012 Statistical Yearbook.
There were 274 films produced wholly or partly in the UK, down from 343 in 2010. However, the total spend of UK-based film productions reached £1.27bn in 2011, a new record for the industry.
Films such as 360, Great Expectations, Now Is Good, Shadow Dancer, Skyfall, Snow White and the Huntsman, Streetdance 2 3D, The Sweeney, Welcome to the Punch, and World War Z increased film production spend in the UK on 2010’s £1.25bn.
International productions spent just over £1bn in the UK, the highest ever recorded and a 4% increase on 2010’s £979.7m. International shoots in the UK included The Dark Knight Rises, Prometheus and Wrath of the Titans.
There were 200 domestic UK films produced during 2011, including Great Expectations, Anna Karenina, Now Is Good and The Iron Lady. This is a decrease from the 282 domestic films produced in 2010, with the UK spend from domestic productions worth £200m in 2011, down from £209m in 2010.
Of the 200 domestic UK films produced during the year, 124 (62%) were made on budgets under £500k. Such films are often important stepping stones in the career development of new film talent. The number of UK co-productions rose 31% from 32 in 2010 to 42 in 2011.
The BFI reported that in 2010 the UK film industry had a total turnover of £7.2bn, making it in real terms nearly two and a half times its size in 1995.
The UK film industry’s direct contribution to UK GDP was £3.3bn. UK film industry exports were 201% higher than in 2001, exporting £2.1bn worth of services in 2010, and boasting a trade surplus of over £1.5bn.
The film industry continues to be an important UK employer, in 2011 employing a total of 62,000 people, up from 48,000 in 2010.
In a strong year for the global box office – in which the total box office reached $32.6bn, marking a 65% increase since 2002 – UK films earned $5.bn, a 17% share, up from $4.5bn and a 14% share in 2010.
The 558 films released in the UK during 2011 sold over 172m cinema tickets, a 1.4% increase on 2010, driving box office revenues up 5% on the previous year to break the £1bn barrier for the first time (UK excluding Republic of Ireland). 2011’s total box office of £1.04bn represents a 61% increase over the last decade.
UK films took the top three places at the box office in 2011 and independent British films claimed a 13% share of the total UK box office - the highest on record.
The highest grossing film of the year was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – a UK-made film backed by US studio Warner Bros – which earned £73m in the UK and over £1.3bnworldwide. In second and third place at the UK box office came the independently made British films The King’s Speech, which took £46m, and The Inbetweeners Movie on £45m.
The Yearbook reveals some changes to the pattern of cinema-going in the UK, with 42% of cinema-goers choosing to watch films on weekdays (Monday – Thursday) – the highest on record. Weekends (Friday to Sunday) accounted for 58% of the total UK box office, the lowest percentage for the last eight years. Films which appeal to older audiences typically draw good weekday admissions and some of the top films of the year, including The King’s Speech, had significant appeal for older audiences (over 55s made up 45% of the film’s total cinema audience) which helping to drive up weekday admissions. Additionally, the ‘Orange Wednesdays’ promotion continued to have an impact in 2011 with 14% of box office being taken on Wednesdays – the highest percentage for eight years.
Meanwhile, in 2011, the British public clocked up an average of 87 film viewings per person - with television accounting for 77% of all film viewings.
DVDs and Blu-ray sales in 2011 were £1,165m, down 8% from 2010’s £1,267m.
The fall in DVD revenues has not yet been fully replaced by uplift in the use of Video on Demand (VoD) services, but audience use of VoD is rising steadily.
VoD services in the UK are divided into television-based VoD and online VoD.
Around 15 million households were able to access television-based VoD films in 2011, with the market increasing 6.5% from an estimated £107m in 2010 to £114m in 2011.
Despite overall broadband penetration of 76% (fixed and mobile) and increasing broadband speeds, the online VoD market remained relatively small in 2011, with estimated revenues of around £52m. However, this represents a 32% increase on revenues in 2010 and a 735% increase on 2008.
The combined value of television and online VoD in 2011 is estimated at £166m, up from £146m in 2010 (Screen Digest) – an increase of 13%. This represents 4% of total UK filmed entertainment market, a reflection of the relative immaturity of the VoD market, which is still in its infancy.
The full report, 2012 Statistical Yearbook, can be found at: http://www.bfi.org.uk/statisticalyearbook2012/