BFI Yearbook shows UK film buoyant in 2013, box office exceeds £1 billion third year in row

BFI LogoThe 2014 BFI Statistical Yearbook shows UK film is a leading player in a highly competitive global industry, with a UK industry turnover of £7.3 billion, an 11% share of the global box office, UK box office receipts in excess of £1 billion for the third successive year.

Les MiserablesLes Misérables (2012), the top performing UK films at the UK box office in 2013, earning £41 million.

Headlines: The BFI’s 2014 Yearbook shows encouraging results for the British film industry at home and abroad:

  • UK film box office revenues exceed £1 billion for the third year in succession
  • UK films took $4.1 billion at the global box office, an 11% share of the world market (15% in 2012)
  • UK film production spend hits £1.1 billion with £860 million from inward investment productions, up 28% on 2012
  • UK audiences get animated: animation was the UK’s favourite genre at the cinema for the first time in 2013, taking £247 million and led by Despicable Me 2; Up was the most watched film on TV, enjoyed by 12% of the UK population in a single transmission
  • Young people aged 7-24 are the UK’s biggest cinema fans in 2013, making up 47% of total admissions
  • Audiences aged over 45 show a strong preference for independent British films Sunshine on Leith, Quartet, Rush, Philomena and Les Misérables
  • Philomena and Rush were the biggest grossing UK independent films at the UK box office and in the top 3 biggest grossing UK independent films worldwide
  • UK’s Video on Demand market grows 37%; all video platforms (including DVD, VoD, Blu-ray) generated more than £1.4 billion in 2013
  • UK film industry turnover was £7.3 billion in 2012 with exports of £1.3 billion and a UK film trade surplus of £789 million

Visit the BFI’s website for more on the 2014 Yearbook.

Highlights: Selected content from the Yearbook.

Les Misérables was the leading UK film release of the year grossing over £40 million and making it one of the UK’s most successful films since 1989. The leading independent UK films were Philomena (£11 million), Rush (£10 million) and Quartet (£8 million), all of which were a hot ticket for cinema-goers in the 45 years-plus age group. Younger audiences enjoyed a fantastic year at the cinema too, making animation the leading genre at the UK box office – £247 million across 33 releases – and helping Despicable Me 2 to become the biggest grossing film of the year with £47 million. Skyfall, released in 2012 and taking over £102 million, continues to be the UK’s biggest box office success ever. Most films are watched on small rather than big screens, with just under 7,000 titles on UK television last year and an average of 53 film viewings per person in 2013.

With more films released in cinemas than ever before in 2013 (a total of 698, marking an average 13 titles a week), competition for audiences has never been higher, but the range of films available, the ways in which audiences can enjoy them, and the appetite for film viewing continues to grow.

The BFI reports that UK films and talent won 26 major awards in 2013/2014, led by the BAFTA® and Oscar® successes of 12 Years a Slave and Gravity. The two films’ achievements marked a landmark year, with 12 Years a Slave the first film to be made by a Black director to win the Oscar® for Best Film, and Gravity flying the flag internationally for the excellence of the UK’s VFX industry.

Compiled by the BFI’s Research and Statistics Unit, the Statistical Yearbook presents the most comprehensive picture of film in the UK and the performance of British films abroad during 2013. Now in its twelfth year, the Yearbook is a valuable evidence base for industry and policy-makers.

Film revenue generated by all video platforms, a crucial part of a film’s value chain, was worth £1.4 billion in 2013. Physical video sales fell to 119 million units last year and rentals to 53 million transactions, but combined they generated £1.1 billion with the most popular purchase being Skyfall. Market data on VoD, which enables audiences to access films through a range of devices, anytime, anywhere, is limited but was estimated to be worth £323 million, showing a 37% growth on 2012 and is now 400% higher since 2002. Apple was the highest earning VoD provider in the UK with Netflix the fastest growing provider.

In terms of viewer numbers, television is the single most important platform for seeing films, offering almost 7,000 film titles across all channels and reaching a cumulative film audience of 3.4 billion, 20 times the number of cinema admissions. On average, people see 53 films a year on television.

British writers continue to hold their places in world cinema history with novels by British writers providing the source material for eight of the 20 most successful films worldwide over the past 13 years. 14.2% of the writers of UK films released in the UK in 2013 were women (up from 13.4% in 2012); 14.1% of the directors of UK films released in the UK in 2013 were women (up from 7.8% in 2012).

Film is a significant employer with more than 66,000 people (70,000 in 2012) working across the film and video industries in 2013 of whom 42,000 (46,000 in 2012) work in film and video production. Just under half of those working in production were freelance.
UK film production

The success of the UK film tax relief in ensuring the UK retains its competitiveness as a production destination for international filmmakers and supporting UK independent production is now mirrored by the introduction of new tax reliefs for high-end television productions, animation programmes and video games. For the first time, and a year since they were first introduced, the Yearbook reports the impact of these new tax reliefs which have seen a UK production spend of £395 million for high-end television productions, 57% of which was on inward investment productions, and £52 million for animation projects, 15% of which was attributed to inward investment productions High-end television productions shot in the UK during 2013 included Game of Thrones, Outlander and 24: Live Another Day while animation projects included Bing Bunny and PIP! Collectively this TV and animation spend is equivalent to 40% of the production spend on film.

Visit for more on the British Film Institute.