Yanks give Brit films a helping hand

U.K. box office doubles in 2 years

Worldwide box office for British films has doubled in the past two years to $2.6 billion, thanks to U.S.-financed blockbusters such as “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

The market share of British films in North America grew to 16% in 2005 from 11% the previous year, with a total gross of $1.3 billion.

Market share of British films reached 20.9% in Germany, 20.3% in France and 20.4% in Spain. At home in Blighty, share reached 33%.

However, 19 out of the top 20 British films worldwide were U.S. financed. British independent cinema made a negligible contribution to the global tally.

The figures were announced Monday by U.K. culture secretary Tessa Jowell on her annual trip to Cannes.

The stats reveal just how central the Hollywood studios have become to the U.K. movie economy.

In recognition of this, Jowell met with New Line execs to discuss the studio’s plans to shoot the first episodes of two major trilogies in Blighty this fall — Chris Weitz’s “Golden Compass” and Iain Softley’s “Inkheart.”

“It’s testament to our dynamic and innovative film industry that the U.K. enjoyed such a strong showing across the world in 2005, despite a downturn in worldwide cinema admissions,” Jowell said.

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