LONDON (Reuters) - Were it not for Tom Cruise and Mary Poppins, Britain’s economy might not have gained any speed at all during a sluggish second quarter.
The film industry was one of the few areas of Britain’s economy that really rolled in the last quarter, according to official figures out on Wednesday.
The industry accounted for almost a quarter of all economic growth between April and June - or 0.07 percentage points of the 0.3 percent growth over the period, to be exact.
Without it, Britain’s growth rate would have been stuck at 0.2 percent, the same as during the first quarter.
Much of the activity came from the production in Britain of new films such as “M:I 6 - Mission Impossible” starring Cruise, and “Mary Poppins Returns” with Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep and Colin Firth, both due out next year, as well as a slew of independent films.
Major film productions usually employ thousands of people, including designers, caterers, lawyers, transport staff, camera crew and artists, and typically have budgets running into hundreds of millions of pounds.
Some bumper box office returns also boosted the British economy in the second quarter.
“Guardians of the Galaxy 2” raked in 41 million pounds ($54 million) in the second quarter, according to the British Film Institute, while “Fast and Furious 8” and “Wonder Woman” generated 29.6 million and 21.8 million pounds respectively.
The Office for National Statistics said motion picture activities had grown by 72 percent since 2014, probably boosted by tax credits introduced by former finance minister George Osborne.
The British Film Institute said the value of film production in Britain had hit a record high of 1.6 billion pounds in 2016. Its figures for the first half of this year are due out on Thursday.
Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by Gareth Jones