UK PM wants film makers to focus on box office hits

Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:30am EST
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday urged UK film makers, whose critical hits often fail to translate into commercial success, to focus more on the box office.

The movie industry is worth an estimated 4.2 billion pounds ($6.5 billion) to the British economy each year, but much of that comes from blockbusters like the Harry Potter franchise that are bankrolled by Hollywood studios.

The government wants to see that change, after recent British hits like "The King's Speech" and "Slumdog Millionaire" proved that small budgets can be turned into box office gold.

"The UK film industry, the skills and crafts that support it, and our creative industries more widely, incalculable contribution to our culture," Cameron said.

"Our role, and that of the BFI (British Film Institute), should be to support the sector in becoming even more dynamic and entrepreneurial, helping UK producers to make commercially successful pictures that rival the quality and impact of the best international productions," he added.

"Just as the British Film Commission has played a crucial role in attracting the biggest and best international studios to produce their films here, so we must incentivize UK producers to chase new markets both here and overseas."

Cameron's remarks came ahead of a visit to Pinewood studios, the spiritual home of British cinema, where he was due to meet small and medium-sized businesses involved in film.

A review of the government's policy on the movie industry was also due to be published next week.   Continued...