Inward investment in the UK is down in the first half of 2010, with the amount spent between January and June totalling $851m (£557m) compared with $941m (£616m) in the equivalent period last year, according to figures released by the UK Film Council today.
The number of features produced in the UK in the first half of 2010 has also fallen to 51, compared with 60 in the first half of last year, whilst the total spend on features produced in the UK has fallen to $982 (£643m) in the first half of 2010 compared with $1.1bn (£726m) over the equivalent period last year.
Despite the drop, 2010 is still on track to achieve the second highest level of UK inward investment after 2009, when the record-setting total figure was $1.2bn (£753m) thanks to the influx of US studio productions including Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, John Carter Of Mars and Sherlock Holmes
The total production spend so far for 2010 is also at its second highest level since the UKFC began publishing its statistical yearbook in 2003, following 2009.
“British cinema has been weathering the recession well, the production, post production and cinema sectors are firing on all cylinders,” UKFC CEO John Woodward noted.
But the UK’s homegrown production scene is not faring as well, with the amount spent on UK domestic features down in the first half of 2010 to $107m (£70.3m) as opposed to $153m (£100.4m) at the same time last year. It is the second lowest figure on record since 2004, when the amount spent on UK domestic features at the equivalent point was at $75m (£49.3m).
The amount spent on UK independent films is also down from $155m (£101.8m) to $122m (£80m) in the first half of 2010, making it the lowest figure recorded, whilst the number of independent UK films produced is also at an all time low at 37 (there were 40 at the equivalent point last year).
The number and amount spent on UK independent films has been declining since 2003 largely due to the fall in co-productions.
So far the number of home-grown productions to have shot in the UK currently stands at 29 in 2010 as opposed to 37 at the equivalent point last year.
The figures also revealed that the median budgets for UK domestic feature films fell slightly from $2.6m (£1.7m) in 2008 to $2.3m (£1.5m) in 2009.
More surprisingly, co-productions are up in the first half of 2010, with $24m (£15.6m) being spent as opposed to $14m (£9.1m) in the equivalent period in 2009. The number of co-productions in the UK in 2009 remained the same as in 2008 at 22.
The statistics also revealed that independent films took a record 8.2% share of the UK market and a 2.3% share of the global market, largely thanks to the success of Slumdog Millionaire, which took $378m at the worldwide box office.
The figures are part of the UK Film Council’s annual statistical yearbook, which for the first time this year is fully available online.
“Low budget independent production is a tough business, it always has been, I’m not saying this is a catastrophe, what I’m saying is there is something quite serious going on here,” said UK Film Council CEO John Woodward, who noted that the worldwide global economic downturn was one of the biggest factors, combined with the “slow erosion of the DVD market” and “less pre-buying of films”.
“The film industry has not managed yet to properly monetise the online space. Revenues are drifting away from DVD and TV, but they are not being replaced by online sales at the moment,” he added.