Majors fund British films

U.K. Film Council releases new statistics

The ever-increasing dependence of British film production on the Hollywood studios has been revealed by the latest statistics from the U.K. Film Council.

Market share for British movies at the U.K. box office has risen to 27% in the first nine months of 2007, up from 19% for the whole of 2006. Nine out of the top 10 local pics to date were either wholly or partly financed by the U.S. studios.

Meanwhile, Hollywood investment in British-based production increased by 31% to £503 million ($1.03 billion) in the same period, while spend on local indie pics and co-productions collapsed by 29% to $373 million.

Studio pics shooting in the U.K. so far this year include “Sweeney Todd,” “The Dark Knight,” “Mamma Mia,” “A Tale of Despereaux” and “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.”

U.K. co-production was particularly hard hit by the change in film tax breaks. The number of co-productions fell to just 29 in the first nine months of 2007, down from 51 in the same period last year.

John Woodward, chief exec of the U.K. Film Council, said: “It’s been a strong half year of consolidation for film production in the U.K. Currently domestic films are steady and we’ve had strong inward investment from the U.S. again this year. When you couple that with the incredibly strong box office for British films, you can see that the underlying trends are very healthy.”

The increased market share for British movies was driven by Warner’s “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” and Universal’s “The Bourne Ultimatum,” “Hot Fuzz,” “Mr. Bean’s Holiday” and “Atonement.” Also in the top 10 are “Notes on a Scandal,” “Last King of Scotland” and “28 Weeks Later” (co-financed and distributed by Fox), “Run, Fat Boy, Run” (co-financed by New Line) and “Miss Potter,” the most “independent” movie in the list, co-produced by the Weinstein Co.

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