Despite the gloomy economic climate, UK cinemas enjoyed a record-breaking year in 2011, with cinema receipts exceeding £1 billion for the very first time. According to the British Film Institute’s annual report (via The Independent), the UK box office increased 5% from 2010, amassing £1.04 billion in total, which was spurred on by a trio of home grown successes in the year’s three highest-grossing releases – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, The King’s Speech and The Inbetweeners Movie.
“UK film is punching above its weight on the world stage, with British stories and talent captivating global audiences, the British public embracing film-watching in increasing numbers, and British independent films enjoying unprecedented levels of success,” says BFI chief executive Amanda Nevill. “We are far from complacent – it’s still a tough economic climate in which to raise finance for film production, and digital technologies continue to bring both challenges and opportunities for industry. We are committed to increasing Lottery funding for UK film in the round over the next five years, and we are working closely and collaboratively with our partners and stakeholders to deliver robust support for UK film right across the value chain, to ensure we maintain momentum and UK film continues to go from strength to strength.”
The British film industry was of course of one the first major causalities of the coalition government’s drastic spending cuts, and despite feature film investment increasing by £20 million from 2010, only 274 British films were made in 2011, as opposed to 343 the previous year. It will be interesting to see what effect this decrease in production has had on the industry’s annual turnover, which stood at £7.2 billion in 2010. And turning to 2012, will the likes of Skyfall, Les Misérables and erm… Keith Lemon: The Film… be able to match the success of last year’s big home grown efforts?