BFI Statistical Yearbook reveals increase in half-year admissions.

UK cinema admissions for the first half of 2011 were 80.7m, up 0.7% on the first half of 2010, the second highest first half admissions of the last five years, according to the BFI statistical Yearbook, published for the first year under the banner of the BFI rather than the UKFC.

According to the Yearbook’s 2010 findings, UK cinema admissions were down 2% on 2009, reaching 169.2 million and the calendar year box office for 2010 (without Republic of Ireland) was £988m.

The BFI Yearbook reports that 557 films were released for a week or more in the UK in 2010 with the top 100 films earning 90% of the gross box office. UK films, including co-productions, accounted for 21% of releases and 24% of the market by value. However, these figures include The Harry Potter franchise and the likes of Inception and Robin Hood, titles the UKFC and now the BFI continue to classify as UK productions.

The report counts a total of 355 specialised, or ‘non-mainstream’, films as released in 2010, representing 64% of the total number of UK theatrical releases. Grossing £66 million, these titles represent only a 6.5% share of total box office earnings.

3D film revenue accounted for 24% of UK and Republic of Ireland box office revenues in 2010 (£242 million), up from 16% in 2009 and just 0.4% in 2008.

The report found that television (terrestrial, subscription and other digital multi-channel) is the most popular viewing medium and accounts for 80% of all films watched in UK. While actual sales of film on video were down 11% on 2009, sell-through DVD and Blu-ray remains the largest single revenue source for film in the UK market, worth £1.3 billion.

The report also revealed that 65 years on from the peak - or ‘Golden Age’ - of British cinema, which saw 1.6 billion cinema tickets sold throughout 1946, the UK population watched films on a total of 4.6 billion occasions in 2010, an average of 81 film viewings per person across all formats including cinema, television, home entertainment and VoD. 

Amanda Nevill, Chief Executive of the BFI said: “The numbers and trends in this latest Yearbook, brought bang up to date by the half year production and box office figures for 2011 so far, tell a story of mixed fortunes in British film. Overall it is holding up remarkably well, with more people watching more film on more platforms, an increase in inward investment and significant activity in low budget filmmaking. These are all good reasons to be optimistic but there are still challenges, such as the shifting home entertainment platforms for film which are seeing DVD sales fall. It is essential that there is continued invest in innovation, skills and new talent to ensure Britain’s position remains competitive, with a focus on education to help grow audiences, instilling a passion for film and encouraging them to be more adventurous.”

The full report, 2011 Statistical Yearbook, can be found here.