Buena Vista International has emerged as the leading distributor in the UK in 2003, with a £218m box office haul and 26.3% market share which was fuelled by hit films such as Finding Nemo and Pirates Of The Caribbean.

UIP - which distributed films including Love Actually - was the second ranked distributor with £186m and a 22.5% market share, while UK independent Entertainment - which released The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of the King - came in third with £121m (14.6%). (See below for list of distributor rankings).

The figures, from Nielsen EDI, also show that three British made films have made into a list of the ten highest grossing films in the UK in 2003.

Working Titles' Love Actually and Johnny English, and Harbour Pictures' Calendar Girls all feature in the top ten.

The end of year figures show that animation hit Finding Nemo was the most popular film of 2003, with a UK box office take of £37.3m, ahead of The Matrix Reloaded (£33.3m) and The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (£29.7m).

Love Actually was the biggest grossing British film of the year, taking an impressive £29.7m.

An end of year rally helped the UK box office achieve an annual take of £810m in 2003, just fractionally down from 2002's record breaking box office of £812m.

Observers had predicted that the UK's 2003 box office would be significantly down compared to 2002. However, a 17% year on year increase in December - fuelled largely by the strong performances of The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King and Love Actually - helped avert a major slump.

The challenges facing distributors of foreign language films are made very clear by the Nielsen statistics. The top performing foreign language film of 2003 - City Of God - came in at number 67 in the charts with a take of £2.4m. Second was Bollywood film Kal Ho Naa Ho (£1.4m) which ranked 93rd in the charts, followed by German hit Good Bye, Lenin! (£1.1m) which came in at number 105. 2003's foreign language Oscar winner, Nowhere In Africa, ranked 264th in the charts with a £258,000 haul.

UK distributor market share 2003:
Buena Vista International £218.3m (26.3%)
United International Pictures £186.4m (22.5%)
Entertainment £121.2m (14.6%)
Warner Bros £87m (10.5%)
Columbia TriStar £79.7m (9.6%)
Twentieth Century Fox £72.8m (8.8%)
Pathe Distribution £16.4m (2.0%)
Momentum Pictures £11.1m (1.3%)

Top ten films in UK in 2003:
Finding Nemo £37.3m (BVI)
The Matrix Reloaded £33.3m (Warner Bros)
The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King £29.7m (Entertainment)
Love Actually £29.7m (UIP)
Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl £28.2m (BVI)
Bruce Almighty £20.6m (BVI)
X2: X-Men United £20.3m (20th Fox)
Calendar Girls £19.6m (BVI)
Johnny English £18.9m (UIP)
Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines £17.8m (Warner Bros)