Total spending on film and high-end television production (HETV) in the UK was £4.23 billion in 2023, according to figures published by the BFI’s Research and Statistics Unit.
The figure is down 32% on 2022, largely as a result of the Hollywood strikes, but is almost on a par with pre-pandemic levels. The lion’s share of the overall £4.23 billion production spend was contributed by 187 HETV shows, worth £2.87 billion, or 68% of the total. Feature film production contributed £1.36 billion, or 32% of the total spend.
Inward investment and co-production films and HETV shows delivered £3.31 billion, or 78% of the combined production spend, highlighting the UK’s ability to attract international shoots. Domestic UK HETV shows accounted for £766 million, or 27% of total HETV spend. However, domestic film production spend was £150.2 million, only 11% of the total spend on film.
According to the BFI, total cinema admissions for 2023 reached 123.6 million, an increase of 5.5% on 2022 helped by a strong summer box office, but overall lagging behind the pre-pandemic year of 2019 by 30%.
Box office takings in the UK and the Republic of Ireland in 2023 totalled £985.8 million across 822 films, 4% more than £945 million earned by 834 releases in 2022, but 24% behind 2019’s total box office.
The highest grossing release of 2023 was Barbie with £95.6 million, representing 10% of the year’s total box office. Barbie’s same-day release partner Oppenheimer was the second biggest film of the year with £58.9 million. The top grossing UK independent film was The Great Escaper with £5.31 million.
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said: “While the American strikes mean it has been a challenging year for global film production, the future for British film remains bright as it continues to bring in billions of pounds to our economy. Five of the top ten highest grossing films at the UK box office were made on British soil, which is testament to our film industry’s ability to draw audiences to cinemas and compete on the world stage.”
Ben Roberts, BFI Chief Executive said: “The production and box office figures that we have published today reflect the different dynamics at play across our sector. Whilst a level of film and high-end television production in the UK was disrupted by strikes in 2024, our industry continues to contribute billions to the UK economy and support a huge range of jobs. At the same time, audiences showed up in record numbers for must-see movies including Barbie, Oppenheimer and Wonka all of which exemplify the talent and artistry of so many UK creatives. And despite notable recent successes such as The Great Escaper, Rye Lane, Scrapper, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Polite Society, we cannot ignore that the statistics also highlight concerns for lower budget UK films, increasingly challenged in securing finance and visibility. Our work and commitment in this area continues.”
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