HomeInsightsBFI statistics for 2017 show new record for film and high-end TV production spend in UK and increased cinema admissions and box office

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The BFI says that official figures published by its Research and Statistics Unit reveal “a record breaking performance from the UK film industry in 2017, reinforcing its global reputation as a world leading centre for film and TV production alongside the continued growth of UK cinema audiences.”

The spend on film production in the UK in 2017 reached the highest level on record at £1.9 billion, a 12% increase on the previous year. Major films including Tim Burton’s Dumbo, Ron Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, Idris Elba’s Yardie, Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin, David Yates’ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2, Wash Westmoreland’s Colette, Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread, Chiwetel Ejiofor’s The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind and Christopher McQuarrie’s Mission Impossible 6, underlined the continued world-class excellence of UK talent, crews, VFX and production services, locations and the supportive fiscal environment created by the UK’s creative sector tax reliefs.

Amanda Nevill CBE, 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.”

The year saw continued growth in the UK’s production sector with the total spend on film production in the UK hitting £1.9 billion, a 12% increase on 2016 and the highest figures since BFI records began over 20 years ago. The year also saw a new record for spend on inward investment film and television production at £1.69 billion for film, a 23% increase on the previous year, and £684 million for high-end television production, a 27% increase on 2016’s level.

There was a significant growth in high-end television production with 49 inward investment productions generating a spend in the UK of £684 million, 27% higher than during 2016 and a new record in this area of production since statistics have been collected. High-end international TV productions made in the UK last year include Game of Thrones (series 8), Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, Outlander (series 4), Vanity Fair, Peaky Blinders, Howard’s End, Rellik, The Minaturist, Kiri, Hard Sun and White Dragon.

At the time of reporting, 21 television animation programmes were produced in the UK in 2017 with a spend of £54.1 million. Of these, 14 were domestic UK productions. However, the BFI says, there is a significant time lag in collecting animation data and these numbers are almost certain to increase as more information becomes available.

As for Box Office, a mix of eagerly anticipated blockbuster films and independent UK films drove a strong year at the UK and Republic of Ireland box office, with 171 million admissions representing a 1% increase on the previous year and a 3.7% increase in the value of ticket sales to total £1.379 billion. To read the BFI’s press release in full, click here.