BFI figures released today show that the inward investment spend on film and high-end TV reached a record breaking £2.37bn in the UK in 2017

The year saw continued growth in the UK’s production sector with the total spend on film production in the UK hitting £1.9bn, a 12% increase on 2016 and the highest figures since BFI records began over 20 years ago.

The year also saw a new record for spend on inward investment film and television production with £1.69bn for film, a 23% increase on the previous year and £684m for high-end television production, a 27% increase on 2016’s level. Total spend on high end television production was £938m.

2017 saw £1.69bn being spent by 68 major inward investment films basing themselves in the UK, an increase in the number of films – six – in this category and a 23% increase in spend on 2016’s £1.37 billion. Inward investment films made in the UK during 2017 include Tim Burton’s Dumbo,  Ron Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin, David Yates’ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread, Christopher McQuarrie’s Mission Impossible 6 and Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World. Eight of these inward investment feature films also filmed in other EU states.    

There was a significant growth in high-end television production with 49 inward investment productions generating a spend in the UK of £684m, 27% higher than during 2016 and a new record in this area of production since statistics have been collected. High-end international TV productions made in the UK last year include Game of Thrones (series 8), Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, Outlander (series 4), Vanity Fair, Peaky Blinders, Howard’s End, Rellik, The Minaturist, Kiri, Hard Sun and White Dragon. 

There were 130 domestic UK films made in the UK in 2017, with a total spend of £189.6 million. Independently produced domestic titles in 2017 include Idris Elba’s Yardie, Mike Leigh’s Peterloo, Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir, Tinge Krishnan’s Been So Long, Peter Strickland’s In Fabric, Chiwetel Ejiofor’s The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Mandie Fletcher’s Patrick, Tom Harper’s Country Music, Josie Rourke’s Mary, Queen of Scots and Tom Edmunds’ Dead in a Week (Or Your Money Back).

The January 2016 statistics release recorded 129 domestic UK titles; this figure was revised upwards to 202 as more final tracking information was received. The total number of films reported across all categories of production for 2016 was 200 and this has subsequently been revised in this release to 293 . The BFI says it is likely that this year’s total of 211 feature films made in the UK will be revised upwards.

There were 13 UK co-productions going into production in 2017, between them spending £29.4m in the UK, down from £45.4m in 2016.

The BFI also reported 21 television animation programmes produced in the UK in 2017 with a spend of £54.1 million. Of these, 14 were domestic UK productions. The BFI says though that there is “a significant time lag in collecting animation data and these numbers are almost certain to increase as more information becomes available.”

Jon Creamer

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