By Jay Hunter Independent figures published today by the BFI show a robust performance from the UK film industry in 2016, which further increased its global reputation as a leading destination for film and TV production and saw UK cinemas enjoy another successful year.

The strong UK box office in 2016 was led by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story with takings of £64.3 million, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them with £54.3 million and Bridget Jones’ Baby with £48.2 million. All three of the top earners were also made in the UK using UK crews, locations and facilities, helping to generate an overall market share of 27.5% of the UK box office for studio-backed, UK-made films. The leading independent UK films at the box office in 2016 were Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie with £16 million, and Eddie The Eagle (below) and Dad’s Army with £8.7 million apiece, with UK independent films achieving a 7.4% share of the overall UK box office.

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The spend on film production in the UK reached the highest level on record with £1.6 billion, a 13% increase on the previous year, with £1.35 billion being spent by major inward investment films including Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and Zack Snyder’s superhero Justice League, demonstrating the continued high international regard held for UK crews, VFX and production services, locations and the supportive fiscal environment created by the UK’s creative sector tax reliefs.

Six of the year’s top 20 grossing films were family driven animated features: Finding Dory (£43 million); The Secret Life of Pets (£36.5 million), Zootropolis (£24 million); Trolls (£23.8 million); Moana (£18.2 million); and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip (£17.1 million). Also flying the flag in showcasing high-tech digital production in family-oriented fare were Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book (£46.2 million) and Steven Spielberg’s The BFG (£30.8 million).

Independent home-grown productions embraced by UK audiences in 2016 were led by Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (£16.1 million), the first feature film based on the successful TV comedy show; Eddie The Eagle (£8.7 million), the sports comedy-drama starring Taron Egerton as the legendary skier; Dad’s Army (£8.7 million), also based on a successful UK TV show; and the Oscar® success, The Danish Girl (£7.5 million) starring Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander.

Amanda Nevill, CEO of the BFI comments:

“With film production reaching £1.6 billion for the first time, today’s statistics show that UK film is open for business and our position as a global leader for film and TV production is stronger than ever. Quintessentially British stories from leading British talent, such as Bridget Jones’s Baby, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them and The Crown, are generating investment, creating jobs and winning audiences at home and across the globe. Nevertheless, as set out in our five year strategy BFI2022, there is much to be done to ensure British independent films are able to better capitalise on opportunities in this economically and creatively buoyant environment.”

(Source/Full report – BFI)

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