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U.K. Film Production Rises 13% to Record $2 Billion

Variety logo Variety 1/26/2017 Leo Barraclough
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Two hundred feature films started principal photography in Britain last year with a total U.K. spend of £1.6 billion ($2.01 billion), a 13% increase on the previous year and the highest since measurement began in 1994, according to figures released by the British Film Institute on Thursday.

Forty-eight of those movies were funded from outside the U.K., with a total spend in Britain of £1.35 billion ($1.7 billion), representing 85% of the total. These titles included “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “The Mummy,” “Ready Player One” and “Transformers: The Last Knight.”

“2016 was a banner year for the U.K.’s film and TV industries, which attracted record levels of inward investment, and some of the world’s most ambitious productions,” Adrian Wootton, chief executive of the British Film Commission and Film London, said. “Our industry offers the complete package in terms of talent, skills, facilities, VFX expertise and competitive tax reliefs, so it’s no wonder international film and TV clients continue to make the U.K. their destination of choice.”

Eighty-four high-end television programs — defined as those with a budget in excess of £1 million ($1.26 million) an hour — started their shoots in Britain last year, with a total spend of £726 million ($915 million), which was an 18% decline on the previous year. Shows funded from outside the U.K. generated £478 million ($603 million), the highest sum since analysis began, and 11% up on the previous year.

“With film production reaching £1.6 billion for the first time, today’s statistics show that U.K. film is open for business, and our position as a global leader for film and TV production is stronger than ever,” Amanda Nevill, BFI’s CEO, commented.

“Quintessentially British stories from leading British talent, such as ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby,’ ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ and ‘The Crown,’ are generating investment, creating jobs and winning audiences at home and across the globe.”

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