The latest figures from the BFI suggest that the UK’s film and high-end TV sector has risen from the ashes of the pandemic, with 2022 being a record year for investment.
With nearly £5.5bn of foreign money being spent in the UK last year and more than £800m of domestic production spend, the total spent in the UK last year reached £6.27bn. Nearly £2bn of that money was spent on films, much of that coming from American studios, for films including George Clooney’s The Boys In The Boat and the eighth Mission Impossible film, Dead Reckoning Part 2.
More than £4bn was spent on high-end TV, which includes nearly £940m on films made directly for streaming services, such as Steve McQueen’s Blitz and Sir Ridley Scott’s Napoleon.
There was also good news to report from box office sales as cinemas reopened properly post-Covid, with a total of £945m from 117 million tickets sold across the UK and Ireland, a 59% increase on the previous year, but still down 26% on 2019, before the pandemic closed cinemas across the world. Top Gun: Maverick was the biggest earner during the 2022 calendar year, taking nearly £84m but Avatar: The Way of Water, which was still in cinemas at the turn of the year, overtook that total early in 2023.
The best performing British independent film during the year was Sir Kenneth Branagh’s Oscar-winning Befast, which took more than £15m, followed by this year’s Oscar contender, The Banshees of Inisherin, which remains in cinemas as the awards season progresses.
The Chief Executive of the BFI, Ben Roberts, said “Our world-class talent, craft and production services, and vital film and TV tax reliefs, have enabled the UK to be a major player in a highly competitive global industry.”
The head of the British Film Commission, Adrian Wootton, said the remarkable growth in production was generating billions of pounds for the UK economy and thousands of jobs. “With the right levels of ongoing investment in skills, support and infrastructure, the UK is well-positioned to attract major international film and TV productions for many years to come,” he said.