Films produced in the UK generated more than £1bn in 2013 but domestic productions accounted for just 6% of the box office.

New annual statistics released today by the BFI reveal a UK film industry increasingly reliant on US inward investment to fill its coffers.

Inward investment from international film productions accounted for 81% of production spend in the UK last year.

The UK film production sector generated a total spend of £1.075bn in 2013 - a 14% increase on 2012’s £945m - of which £868m was generated by 37 inward investment features, such as Marvel’s Guardian’s of the Galaxy and Disney’s Muppets Most Wanted.

Domestic UK production down

While inward investment remains vital to the UK economy, the number of domestic UK features produced in the UK fell dramatically last year to 166 [that number is expected to rise as more sub-£500k productions are reported to the BFI throughout the year] from 242 in 2012, the lowest level in at least five years.

There were declines in the number of UK films produced for more than £500k and less than £500k.

The total UK spend of those features inevitably dropped to its lowest level in five years at £152m while perhaps most alarmingly theatrical market share for UK independent films was at its lowest level in three years at a disappointing 6%, down from 9.3% in 2012 and a record 13.1% in 2011.

Philomena was the highest-grossing UK independent film released last year, taking £10.79m.

Market share of UK qualifying films produced with US studio backing was also at its lowest level in three years at 15.5% down from 22.8% in 2012 and 22.6% in 2011. 

Box office tops £1bn

As previously reported, 2013 marked the third consecutive year that the overall UK box office crossed the £1bn barrier, though total takings were down 1% on the previous year and admissions dipped year-on-year by 4%.

The momentum for big budget inward investment film and television productions coming to the UK will continue in 2014 with the Star Wars: Episode VII, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, 24 and Gallivant all going into production this year.

It was also revealed today that Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Through the Looking Glass will shoot in the UK.