The top 20 films made up 48.6% of box office, notes the 2016 FDA yearbook; advertising spend decreases again.


In 2016, almost a third of UK cinema releases grossed less than £10,000 during their theatrical runs.

The daunting statistic was revealed in the Film Distributors Association annual yearbook, published this week.

The report notes that while the UK is a large cinema territory in terms of box office receipts (the market generates 5% of the world’s box office), challenges abound in light of high releasing costs.

“Conditions remain tough for UK independent film distributors; facing relatively low returns against high costs and, since 24 June [in reference to the Brexit referendum], a significantly weaker pound,” commented FDA president Lord David Puttnam in his foreword to the report.

The yearbook confirms that 900 films were released in the UK in 2016, a figure initially anticipated by ComScore at the Screen Film Summit last year.

The number of films in cinemas leaves little room for titles to breakout.

“Older audiences, an important demographic, tend to take a little longer to find a new release; they are seldom to be found joining the crowds on opening night. Yet, with this plethora of titles, too many films find it well-nigh impossible to hold on to screens and their availability becomes very limited,” noted Puttnam.

However, the £10,000 figure will also be tied to intentionally short releases by companies looking to trigger digital deals or fulfill other contract obligations.

The FDA’s report also notes that 81% of UK releases in 2016 grossed less than £500,000.

The top 10 releases accounted for 31.9% of total box office and the top 20 made up 48.6%.

Home entertainment

The UK’s home entertainment market continues to see a substantial shift from physical to online consumption.

While total sales for films, music and games hit £6.3bn in 2016, a record figure and £0.2bn up on 2015, physical retail dropped 16.9% to £893.6m (physical rental dropped 21.2% to £49.3m).

In contrast, revenues of digital services (including SVoD, estimated) grew an estimated 22.8% to £1.31bn (according to the Entertainment Retailers’ Association, a part-owner of the Official Charts Company).

“Digital technologies have already revolutionised the ways in which films are made, marketed and watched – and that will surely continue to be the case,” said president David Puttnam.

Advertising spend

The yearbook also tallied UK film distributors’ advertising spends in 2016.

Overall spend was down from £174m in 2015 to £168m in 2016. This figure has declined significantly in recent years.

The total stood at £193.4m in 2013, indicating a false economy whereby advertising spend is decreasing and the number of releases is increasing.

The amount of expenditure on outdoor adverts dropped from £55.1m to £52.9m, while press spend fell from £19.3m to £15m.

Television spend rose slightly from £92m to £93.5m, and radio also rose from £6.2m to £6.9m.

Data sources for the yearbook include OCC, ERA, IHS analysis and ComScore.