The British Film Institute has released box office and production stats for the UK in 2012 that offer up a mix of good, bad and unsurprising news. Box office was up just a touch after being dented by summer events that turned attention away from the multiplex. At the same time, investment from abroad dropped drastically after a record 2011 that included the shoots of The Dark Knight Rises, Dark Shadows, Skyfall, Prometheus, Snow White And The Huntsman, World War Z and Wrath Of The Titans.
The overall UK spend of features that started production in 2012 was £927M ($1.47B), a 29% drop on 2011’s record-breaking £1.29B. A total of 26 so-called inward investment movies, including Warner Bros.’ All You Need Is Kill, Red 2 for Lionsgate/Summit, Paramount’s Jack Ryan and Universal’s Fast And Furious 6 and Kick Ass 2, contributed £631M compared to the 34 films in 2011 which spent £1B. Simon Oakes, producer of 2012′s top indie, Woman In Black, thinks the trend is cyclical. “I don’t think this is a forever stat. We’ll probably see this year that it will come back up again. Look, if there was an intention not to spend money by the U.S. studios in the UK, Warner Bros. wouldn’t have spent money on Leavesden,” Oakes tells me about the £100M+ Warner invested on a London-adjacent studio facility after the end of the Harry Potter franchise.
At the box office, ticket sales were worth £1.1B ($1.7B) in 2012, up 6% on 2011, with 172.5M admissions, a scant 1M admission increase on the previous year. As expected, box office was down for four straight months over the summer – when the Olympics were in town and the Queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee. But, takings skyrocketed back up in late October/early November when Skyfall hit theaters. The James Bond movie topped the box office for the year with £102.26M followed by The Dark Knight Rises with £56.26M and The Avengers with £51.87M. On the indie side, Woman In Black led 2012 at £21.33M followed closely by The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (£20.43M) and The Iron Lady (£9.9M). UK films, including those that may be backed by U.S. studios but qualify as British under local regs (think Skyfall), had 32% of the market share. When that figure is broken out, British indie films 9% of the pie.