Number of pics drops by 20%; production value crashes 26%

British film production continues to slide, with a year-on-year 20% decline in volume and 26% dip in value of indigenous features, according to statistics from the U.K. Film Council.

Some 55 pics were produced in the first three quarters, compared with 69 in the same period last year.

Pics that started lensing include Working Title’s Oliver Parker-helmed “Johnny English Reborn”; Andrea Arnold’s “Wuthering Heights” for Ecosse Films; and Ealing Studios’ “Burke and Hare,” directed by John Landis, which world preems Monday in London.

Around £130.3 million ($205.2 million) has been spent on Brit fare, vs. $279 million in 2009.

Foreign filming accounts for the bulk of production coin spent in the U.K. with 83% of the overall $1.5 billion spend on pics this year coming from projects substantially financed from abroad, mostly the U.S. Foreign titles that began lensing in the third quarter include “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “X-Men: First Class” and Madonna’s “W.E.”

Warner Bros.’ final installment of the “Harry Potter” franchise wrapped 10 years of shoots, while Martin Scorsese’s 3D “Hugo Cabret” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” lensed at Pinewood-Shepperton studios.

Overall, 88 films with budgets higher than $787,000 began principal photography in the first nine months of the year, the lowest number in eight years. Ten were co-prods, 55 were domestic features and 23 were foreign pics.

But, there has been some recovery in co-production spend, albeit from fewer films. U.K. spend on co-productions was up 50% to $40.5 million in the first three quarters.

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