The latest statistics and analysis from the UK Film Council shows indigenous British films held up well in 2008 with a 20% increase in production spend, but foreign investment dropped due to a number of exceptional factors
While UK box office receipts reached a record high, film production spend in the UK was down compared with the previous year.
Cinema-going continues to be one of the nation’s favourite activities with box office takings for the UK and Republic of Ireland hitting £949.5 million, up 5% on 2007’s £904 million, and the highest since records began in 1989.
British films also accounted for 31% of cinema takings, the second highest in a decade.
The top films of the year at the UK box office were all made with significant UK involvement. These included Mamma Mia! earning £69 million to become the most successful film in the UK ever and Quantum of Solace taking more than £50 million and achieving the highest opening weekend for any film in the UK with £15.4 million.
Film production statistics paint a more complex picture with spend totalling over £0.5 billion in 2008 – but still down 23% on 2007.
For films with production budgets of £500,000 and above in the calendar year 2008, production spending in the UK totalled £578.2 million with the UK involved in the making of 111 feature films (126 in 2007). Production spend in the UK for the year was 23% lower than 2007’s total of £753 million.
The outlook for independent British films in 2009 is expected to be tough with the economic downturn starting to take effect. This impact had not materialised in 2008 as finance and credit deals are done well in advance of film production and release. The immediate prospects for these British independent films suggest it will become even harder for them to raise credit especially through bank loans.