UK film investment at record in 2010, box office up

Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:27am EST
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Investment in new UK film production hit 1.16 billion pounds ($1.85 billion) in 2010, a record for the British film industry, new figures showed on Thursday.

Data from the UK Film Council showed that inward investment from international filmmakers, typically major Hollywood studios locating productions in Britain, reached 929 million pounds, an increase of 15 percent over 2009.

These films included "Captain America: The First Avenger," "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two" and "John Carter of Mars."

Spending on domestic feature films in 2010 fell to 174 million pounds, however, compared with 224 million pounds the previous year.

Box office takings in the UK and Ireland rose two percent from 2009 to 1.08 billion pounds, with "Toy Story 3" in the top slot with earnings of 74 million pounds, ahead of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One" at 51 million.

The Film Council did not provide admission figures.

The market share of British films, including UK/U.S. productions), hit 23 percent in 2010, up from 17 percent the year before. 3-D films grossed 237 million pounds last year, a 24 percent market share up from 16 percent in 2009.

Tim Cagney, managing director of the UK Film Council, said the figures underlined the importance of the movie business to the British economy. The council is being abolished as part of government cuts aimed at reducing the budget deficit.

"The figures ... show how difficult it is to raise finance for making independent British films and, with four of the top 10 grossing UK independent films funded by the UK Film Council, the ongoing value of public investment in new British films and talent," he said in a statement.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)