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20/07/2007

Report Reveals Love of British Films Continues Unabated

Britain is a nation of film lovers with box office takings up 56% in the last ten years; British films are popular overseas with exports at an eleven year high; and British creative talent is in demand across the world, according to a recent report from the UK Film Council.
Compiled by the UK Film Council’s Research and Statistics Unit, the report presents the most comprehensive picture of the British film industry in 2006 covering everything from cinema-going and audience taste, to exhibition and exports.
The Statistical Yearbook 2006 reveals that the British love watching films. The total audience for film on television was 3.3 billion. Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl was the most popular drawing in 9.5 million viewers for BBC1, around one-sixth of the entire UK population.
UK box office takings jumped 56% in ten years from £489 million in 1997 to £762 million in 2006, although 2006 was 1% down on 2005. Casino Royale was the top performer in 2006 taking £55.5 million at UK cinemas. 115 million film DVDs were rented (online DVD rental was a major growth area) and 163 million film DVDs were sold.
John Woodward, Chief Executive Officer of the UK Film Council said: “The British film industry is in rude health. Film remains one of the most popular forms of entertainment in this country, exports are up, UK films are winning top awards and British creative talent including writers, directors and actors are in demand around the world and achieving great success.
“However, there are a number of challenges ahead particularly the opportunities offered by the new digital world which requires the film industry to work in new ways; the growing threat of piracy, particular online piracy; and increasing competition from abroad.”
The UK punches well above its weight as the third largest filmed entertainment market in the world, after the US and Japan, with revenues of $6.6 billion in 2005. UK films were seen by millions around the world taking $2.2 billion at the global box office - approximately 500 million admissions. The Da Vinci Code was the strongest UK film at the worldwide box office grossing $758 million.
UK film exports grew by 65% between 2003 and 2005. They jumped to £967 million in 2005 (up from £633 million in 2003) with a trade surplus of £163 million (£95 million in 2003), the highest in 11 years. The US is the largest market for UK film exports, accounting for 61% in 2005 followed by Europe taking 19%.
British creative talent has enjoyed considerable global success. Stories created by UK writers dominated the global box office over the last five years and 31 of the top 200 films at the worldwide box office (2001-2006) were based on stories and characters created by British writers - the films earned more than $13 billion.
Writers include JK Rowling (Harry Potter films), JRR Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings), CS Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia) Patrick O’Brian (Master and Commander). British directors have directed 19 of these top 200 films and British actors appeared in more than half of them.
Ridley Scott was the most frequent director and Orlando Bloom and Sir Ian McKellen the most prolific actors.
Creative Industries Minister Margaret Hodge said: "The UK film industry is thriving, with huge audiences worldwide flocking to see British movies. We should be proud of the great successes of the last year with the award triumphs of 'The Queen', 'The Wind that Shakes the Barley' and 'The Last King of Scotland' demonstrating that UK film commands critical respect, as well as a healthy share of the global film market."
(SP/KMcA)
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