Spend on film production in the UK hit new records in 2016, according to BFI statistics.
At £1.6bn, film production expenditure reached the highest level on record in 2016, a 13% increase on the previous year.
£1.35bn was spent in the UK by 48 major inward investment films including Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk (pictured) and Zack Snyder’s superhero Justice League. This is up almost 18% from 2015.
The BFI said the figure demonstrated the continued high international regard held for UK crews, VFX and production services, locations and the supportive fiscal environment created by the UK’s creative sector tax reliefs.
Other inward investment films made in the UK during 2016 included Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, Ridley Scott’s Alien Covenant, Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express, Lasse Hallstrom’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and Paddington 2.
There was also significant growth in spend from international high-end television production in 2016, with 36 TV productions generating a UK spend of £477.8m – up 11% from £430.3m in 2014.
Dramas made in the UK in 2016 include the second series of the The Crown, the seventh series of Games of Thrones, Fortitude, The White Princess and the third series of Outlander.
There were 129 domestic UK films made in the UK in 2016, between them spending £206m, a drop of £8% on 2015’s total of £223m.
Independently produced domestic titles in 2016 included Clio Barnard’s Dark River, Andy Serkis’s Breathe, Gurinder Chadha’s Viceroy’s House, Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver, Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour, Asif Kapadia’s Diego, Paddy Considine’s Journeyman, Stephen Frears’s Victoria and Abdul, Saul Dibb’s Journey’s End, God’s Own Country, Andy Nyman’s Ghost Stories and Kevin Macdonald’s Whitney Houston Biopic.
The BFI said it expected the official number of independently produced UK titles shot in 2016 to rise as there is often a time-lag in data collection. The January 2015 statistics release recorded 124 domestic UK titles; this figure rose to 199 as more data were received – a trend likely to be repeated this year.
23 UK co-productions began production in 2016, between them spending £41.3m in the UK, down from £44.8m in 2014.
24 television animation programmes were produced in the UK in 2016 with aspend of £57.7m. Of these, 13 were domestic UK productions.
Meanwhile, the UK box office had its second most successful year on record with £1.227bn in receipts. The year’s leading films included Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (£64.3m), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (£54.3m), Bridget Jones’s Baby (£48.2m), and The Jungle Book (£46.2m) – all four of which were also made in the UK.
The performance of US studio-backed British films – made in the UK – accounted for a 27.5% market share, the second highest since records began. The market share for independent UK films released was 7.4%, down from 10.5% in 2015.
Six of the year’s top 20 grossing films were family driven animated features: Finding Dory (£43m); The Secret Life of Pets (£36.5m), Zootropolis (£24m); Trolls (£23.8m); Moana (£18.2m); and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip (£17.1m). Also flying the flag in showcasing high-tech digital production in family-oriented fare were Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book (£46.2m) and Steven Spielberg’s The BFG (£30.8m).
Hit independent home-grown productions in 2016 include Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (£16.1m; Eddie The Eagle (£8.7m); Dad’s Army (£8.7m); and the Oscar success, The Danish Girl (£7.5m)..
Also featuring in the top 20 independent film releases were Noel Clarke’s Brotherhood (£3.7m), Ricky Gervais’s David Brent: Life on the Road (£3.6m), Stephen Frears’ Florence Foster Jenkins (£3.2m), Ken Loach’s Cannes Palme d’Or winning I, Daniel Blake* (£3.2m), Philippa Lowthorpe’s Swallows and Amazons (£3.1m), Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom (£2.3m) Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise starring Tom Hiddleston (£2m), and the Louis Theroux feature documentary My Scientology Movie (£1.1m).
Minister for Digital and Culture, Matt Hancock said: “With inward investment levels for film and television at new highs, we will continue to build on this tremendous success, forging a global Britain that remains the centre for attracting and developing the world’s best creative talent."
Amanda Nevill, CEO of the BFI added: “Quintessentially British stories from leading British talent, such as Bridget Jones’s Baby, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them and The Crown, are generating investment, creating jobs and winning audiences at home and across the globe. Nevertheless, as set out in our five year strategy BFI2022, there is much to be done to ensure British independent films are able to better capitalise on opportunities in this economically and creatively buoyant environment.”
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