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U.K. pic production spend falls 29%

Feature film shoots drop to 223 for year

LONDON

Spending on film production in Blighty dropped 29% in 2012 as inward investment fell, however spend on local productions and co-productions was up, according to a British Film Institute report published Thursday.

The report showed the number of U.K.-based productions dropped from 319 in 2011 to 223 in 2012, while spend fell to £927.3 million ($1.46 billion) from the previous year’s record $2.05 billion.

Although the U.K. attracted 14 U.S. productions and Warner Bros. opened its Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden in 2012, overall spend from overseas features filming in the U.K. plummeted 39.5% from 2011 to $995.6 million — its lowest level since 2008.

U.S. studio films contributed 67.9% of U.K. production spend in 2012, down from 79.2% in 2011.

These included Warner Bros.’ “All You Need Is Kill,” Lionsgate’s “Red 2,” Disney’s “Maleficent” and “Thor: The Dark World,” from Marvel Studios, Universal’s “Fast and Furious 6” and “Kick-Ass 2,” Paramount’s “Jack Ryan” and Sony’s “Captain Phillips.”

A total of 26 films contributed to inward investment in 2012.

According to film agency Film London, a record 1,671 feature filming days were logged in the capital in 2012, up 33% from 2011.

“The U.K. production industry continues to see commitment from the international marketplace, particularly from the U.S.” said Adrian Wootton, CEO of Film London and the British Film Commission. “Although 2011’s record-breaking figures have not been equaled, as there were fewer features shot with comparatively lower budgets, encouragingly, the U.K. started to see an upturn in production during the latter half of 2012.

“The greatest endorsement of our industry is commercial companies continuing to trust and rely on our production infrastructure, as well as heavily investing in it, ensuring we maintain a creative and competitive edge.”

Local production spend was up 16.2% year-on-year to $352.9 million, its highest level since 2009, despite fewer films going into production.

U.K. films spending coin in Blighty included Ralph Fiennes’ “The Invisible Woman” and Tom Hooper’s “Les Miserables.”

British films in turn delivered a 32% market share of 2012’s $1.74 billion box office revenues in the U.K.

Co-productions, including Nick Hornby adaptation “A Long Way Down,” Nelson Mandela biopic “Long Walk to Freedom” and comedy “I Give it a Year,” which opens Feb. 8, contributed $115.6 million to U.K. production spend, up 17.5% from 2011, again despite fewer productions.

“It is encouraging for the U.K. to see an increase in investment in independently produced British films and British co-productions,” said BFI chief executive Amanda Nevill.

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