Figures from the BFI’s Research and Statistics Unit illustrate that the UK remains popular with international productions, generating £631 million of investment from 26 films, nearly 70% of all feature film production spend, continuing to deliver for the UK economy while creating and supporting a large number of jobs.
Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of the British Film Commission and Film London says: “Today’s figures demonstrate that the UK production industry continues to see commitment from the international marketplace, particularly from the US. Although 2011’s record-breaking figures have not been equaled as there were fewer features shot last year with comparatively lower budgets, encouragingly, the UK 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 upon our production infrastructure, as well as heavily investing in it, ensuring we maintain a creative and competitive edge. And not only were some of the world’s biggest and most successful films shot in the UK last year, we are also looking at an ambitious slate of films prepping for 2013.”
Iain Smith, Producer and Chair of the BFC, adds: “Whilst there has been a reduction in the levels of global feature film production, there is no doubt the UK has maintained its hard won market share.”
The UK hosted several major feature productions in 2012 including Warner Bros. All You Need is Kill starring Tom Cruise, Lionsgate/Summit’s Red 2, Sony’sCaptain Phillips starring Tom Hanks, and Universal’s Fast and Furious 6 and Kick-Ass 2.
In a year which saw London and the UK hosting the enormously successful London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the UK continued to attract high profile productions, accommodating Ridley Scott’s extensive central London location shoot for The Counselor, starring Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender, at the height of the Games. In fact, London saw 1,671 feature filming days in 2012, the highest ever and 33% up on 2011.
In addition, the UK saw significant investment in its film infrastructure in 2012, including the opening of Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, a state-of-the-art £100 million film and TV production facility and Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, as well as the acquisition of leading UK post-production house, De Lane Lea, also by Warner Bros.
Roy Button OBE, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Warner Bros. Productions Ltd says: “Warner Bros. is a major producer of feature films here in the UK. Our continued investment in film and TV infrastructure demonstrates the company’s commitment to the UK and underlines our belief in the world-class talent that resides on these shores.”
Walt Disney Pictures has also continued to build its relationship with the UK. Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie and Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World both shot in the UK in 2012. Disney is now a regular feature in the UK with plans to base further major movies in the UK's studios, and post and visual effects facilities.
Tony To, Executive Vice President of Production, Disney, who has a long-standing regard for UK talent having first produced Steven Spielberg’s Band of Brothers in the UK in 2000, comments: “Our past and current experiences shooting in the UK have been extraordinarily positive thanks to its world class crews, quality vendors, local talent, and spectacular locations. We’re thrilled to continue shooting in the UK.”
Disney’s Muppets sequel, based at Pinewood Studios, is one of several high-profile studio features confirmed to shoot in the UK in 2013.
Ivan Dunleavy, Chief Executive, Pinewood Studios Group says of today's figures, “Today’s figures should be viewed in the context of the underlying, consistent performance of the UK’s film sector, for example, the Pinewood Group. This points to continued, strong production activity and underpins our confidence in the growing UK film industry and its future.”
Pinewood Studios' new 30,000 sq ft Richard Attenborough Stage opened last year hosting Universal/Working Title's Golden Globe winning and multi-Oscar and BAFTA nominated Les Misérables, and Paramount's Jack Ryan. Pinewood also has plans to double the capacity at the studios and will continue to pursue this in 2013.
In addition to its production support role, the British Film Commission is also engaging with the UK Government, and production infrastructure to prepare for a potential influx of activity as a result of the new Creative Sector Tax Reliefs for TV and animation. Due to be in place by April, subject to EU State-Aid approval, the BFC is working to attract high-end international TV productions to the UK, to further boost inward investment and employment.