Total amount spent on UK feature films fell to £643 million (982 million) in the first six months of 2010. This compares with £726 million between January and June last year. The £643 million figure is still the second highest on record after 2009 though, driven mainly by Hollywood movies shooting over here. Big-budget movies using British studios included the latest Harry Potter and Pirates franchises, plus John Carter of Mars.
Production volume fell by 15% overall in the first six months, with 51 movies shooting (60 in first-half 2009). And indigenous production has been badly hit, down 22%. Twenty nine home-grown productions have cranked up so far in 2010 compared with 37 in 2009. Total UK independent investment (including co-pros) has fallen by 21% to £80 million. Indie British films that have shot so far in 2010 include Burke & Hare, The Great Ghost Rescue and Bel Ami.
The amount spent on home-grown UK films also fell by 18% last year to £169.2 million, according to the latest UK Film Council figures. But that was counterbalanced by some big Hollywood movies shooting in Britain, including the next Harry Potter and Inception. Inward investment more than doubled last year to £753 million. Co-production investment fell by 28% to £35 million. Overall total UK production spend was £957 million compared with £613 million in 2008 – a rise of 56%.
Domestic production volume fell slightly from 77 to 71 features last year. The number of foreign movies shooting in the UK rose from 27 to 32 in 2009. Co-production volume was flat at 22.
The good news is that median budgets for indie UK films fell slightly from £1.7 million to £1.5 million.
The Film Council says that UK films took a 17% market share last year, with independent films accounting for 8.2% of that. The UK film agency is regularly bashed for including big Hollywood productions in its figures. Apart from Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes, movies categorised as British included Fantastic Mr Fox, Planet 51 and Nine.
Indie Brit films also took 2.3% of global market share – mainly due to Slumdog Millionaire.
Box office reached a record £944 million, with the second highest level of admissions since 1971 (174 million). The UKFC crows this would be a success at any point in the economic cycle.
Global box office reached almost $30 billion in 2009, a 7% increase year on year.