UK on frontline of film-making
The UK has created some of the most influential and celebrated cinema and television in the world. Investment opportunities have never been stronger
A long history of success in film-making, TV production, animation and special effects has ensured the UK is recognized globally, with much of the world’s best-loved and most critically acclaimed screen content made on the British Isles. The UK is globally competitive, leading on innovative ideas, creativity and skills. The mature storytelling of 1917; the cult devotion to Game Of Thrones; the growth and Emmywinning glory of Downton Abbey; the flamboyance of Rocketman; the stunning VFX of the Star Wars franchise; the talent of The Crown; the authenticity of independents such as Darkest Hour and The Favourite... the list goes on – all shining examples of the cultural impact and success of UK productions around the world. The latest report from the British Film Institute (BFI) Research and Statistics Unit reveals the highest-ever spend on film and high-end television production in the UK in 2019. This includes high levels of international production investment, underlining the UK’s global reputation as the world-leading centre for film and TV production, sustaining strong admissions and box office for film in the cinema and box office growth in market share for independent UK films. Cinema audiences flocked to see blockbuster films led by Avengers: Endgame and The Lion King and independent UK films including Downton Abbey, The Favourite and Yesterday, generating a strong year at the UK box office.
The market share of independent UK films at the box office in 2019 was 13%, an increase from 11.7% in 2018. When UK-made, studio-backed films are added to the picture – eg Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, Aladdin, Dumbo and Rocketman – the full UK market share increases to 46%, the highest since records began. Collectively, films released in 2019 attracted 176 million admissions, the second-biggest year by admissions for 49 years. Total box office revenue for all films released was £1.254 billion ($1.64bn), just 2% down on last year. The spend on high-end TV and film production in the UK in 2019 reached £3.62bn ($4.74bn), a 16% increase. This figure is the highest spend of any year on record, demonstrating the continued world-class excellence of UK talent, crews, VFX and production services, locations, the supportive fiscal environment created by the UK’s creative sector tax reliefs and the work of the British Film Commission with international producers. Neil Peplow, director of international affairs at the British Film Institute, says the record-breaking growth is a result of the industry’s commitment to ensuring it moves at pace with a constantly evolving landscape. Six months into the role, Mr Peplow has been struck by the demand for UK services and production expertise.
“It is evidently the busiest production hub in the world. The reasons for our growth are many. We have some of the most talented crew, cast, directing and writing talent we have developed over the last 20 years. “We have a very well thought through tax relief developed in conjunction with the industry which the Government was on board with from day one. Its support has been proven year-on-year with economic growth generating a positive return on its investment. “So for every pound we spend on production it has an uplift in the economy of £7 ($9.17). The industry has a massive uplift for the entire economy. There are many opportunities for further growth.”