Guy Ritchie's Aladdin helps UK film production spending hit record high
The Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them sequel, Stars Wars spin-off Solo and live action adaptations of Aladdin and Dumbo pushed spending on film production in the UK to a record high in 2017, new statistics show.
Overall spending on film hit a record £1.9 billion, an increase of 12% on the previous year.
In television, high-end drama scripted production reached £938 million, with a record £684 million coming from foreign productions, a 27% increase on the previous year, according to official figures published by the BFI’s Research and Statistics Unit.
Other high-profile productions that helped drive record spending on UK productions include Idris Elba’s directorial debut Yardie, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Oscar hopeful Phantom Thread and the sixth Mission: Impossible film Fallout.
The figures include 68 major inward investment films based in the UK, spending a total of £1.69 billion, including Ron Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, Guy Ritchie’s version of Aladdin and Ridley Scott’s All The Money In The World, which required last-minute reshoots when Kevin Spacey was replaced by Christopher Plummer.
Some 130 British films were produced in the UK, with a total spend of £189.6 million.
These include Mike Leigh’s Peterloo, Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir, Tom Harper’s Country Music and Chiwetel Ejiofor’s The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind.
Four of the five top grossing films at the UK box office in 2017 were made in the UK – Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Beauty And The Beast, Dunkirk and Paddington 2 – and ticket sales in the UK and the Republic of Ireland increased 3.7% to £1.4 billion, a total of 171 million cinema admissions.
There was also a boost to high-end TV production with 49 inward investment productions, including series eight of Game Of Thrones, Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams, Kiri, The Miniaturist and Peaky Blinders, generating a spend in the UK of £684 million, up 27% on 2016.
Amanda Nevill, CEO of the BFI, said: “Once again, UK film and high-end TV surpass expectations and records are broken, with a staggering almost £3 billion spent on film and high-end TV production.
“We have a consistently growing industry, and doing so at speed – up 11% from last year and outstripping most other sectors.
“Productions such as Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Paddington 2 and Game Of Thrones deliver new employment opportunities for everyone UK-wide, with every conceivable skill required, from special effects designers to costumiers, accountants and drivers.
“What’s more, it creates the most potent export to showcase the UK and our innate creativity and is a powerful and timely reminder of the UK as a major global player.”
Margot James, minister for digital and the creative industries, added: “From Star Wars to The Crown, the UK is a creative powerhouse for developing many award-winning films and shows enjoyed by millions globally.
“We have world-class studios, a talented workforce and highly competitive tax reliefs, and these fantastic stats show investment in our screen industries is booming.”