BFI Reports Reveal How UK Films Fared At 2017 Global Box Office & On Awards Circuit

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A new British Film Institute report has revealed that in 2017, British-qualifying films scored their second-best global box office performance since 2002. UK qualifying films had a total worldwide (so including UK) box office of $8.1B last year, taking 21% of the total market. Of that, 18.6% came from studio-backed UK projects.

The BFI report, sourced from data firms comScore and IHS, reveals a global theatrical market worth a record $39.4M. Independent UK films took 2% share of the global box office, up from 1.3% in 2016. This figure is relatively consistent over the last 10-15 years. Indie fare took 2.3% of the North American box office and 2.4% across Europe. New Zealand had the highest independent UK share of any territory (7.5%).

Baby Driver was the highest-earning UK independent film at the global box office, with takings in 2017 of $204M. The Working Title hit had studio distribution muscle behind it in a number of markets, it should be noted. Paddington 2 was second on the list, earning $131M. This does not include revenues from a handful of major territories such as the U.S. and Canada where the family feature opened in 2018 through Warner Bros.

Next was Victoria And Abdul which took $54M and rounding out the Top 10 were Darkest Hour, T2: Trainspotting, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, Loving Vincent, 47 Meters Down, Viceroy’s House and Their Finest. Working Title scored three of the top four. The total gross of the top 10 was $588M, over 80% higher than the $322M earned last year. The box office gross figures are cumulative up to February 4, 2018 in territories where the film was released in 2017.

The global success of the UK’s studio-backed projects chimes with their importance for the local production economy.  The spend on film production in the UK in 2017 reached the highest level on record with $2.7B, a 12% increase on the previous year. That was largely driven by U.S. studio-backed projects as 68 major inward investment films based themselves in the UK.

As previous BFI reports have revealed, U.S. studi0 fare dominates the UK box office. The market share of independent UK films at the UK box office was 9.5% in 2017. That figure continues to lag behind other major markets. In 2017 France posted a local films market share of 37%, Italy and Germany scored 16% while Japan scored 55%.

Awards For British Films

The BFI has also released data today on the performance of UK films and talent at major awards ceremonies and festivals. There are two sets of data here, one for the calendar year of 2017 and one for the latest awards cycle which includes the 2018 BAFTAs and Oscars.

UK films and British individuals won 21 awards in the calendar year of 2017, representing 11% of all available awards (awards specific to foreign nationals or films, for example the Toronto International Film Festival’s award for Best Canadian Film, are not included in the analysis), down from 29 (15%) in 2016. Somewhat surprisingly, the 21/11% figure is the lowest since records began in 2002.

However, looking at the 2017/18 awards cycle (the five main film festivals in 2017 and the BAFTAs and Oscars in 2018), UK films and British individuals won 32 awards, representing 17% of the awards available. This is up from 22 award winners (12%) in the 2016/17 awards cycle. There were 21 out of 32 awards from the BAFTAs (15) and Oscars (6).

The awards data was collated from the Oscars and BAFTAs and five festivals: Berlin, Cannes, Sundance, Toronto and Venice.

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