New reward scheme may have helped boost attendance to British films.

Odeon reports that 270,000 more cinema-goers bought tickets for British films at its cinemas in 2011, compared to 2010.

UK productions and co-productions accounted for a record £295m at the box office in 2011, almost one-third of total receipts. Overall attendance was also up year-on-year at an estimated 171m.

The unusual surge in UK box office can largely be put down to the huge breakout success of The King’s Speech and The Inbetweeners Movie as well as the bonanza for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

But Odeon also credits the attendance increase to its points-based Backing British Film Campaign, which launched in January 2011. In return for a visit to a British film, cinemagoers receive rewards including free popcorn and cinema tickets.

The UK’s largest cinema chain estimates that the scheme brought in an extra £2.2m for British films and that it gave away around 564,000 boxes of free popcorn in points.

“2011 was a good year for British film in terms of recognition, with strong awards success for The King’s Speech and in terms of raising awareness for British film in general,” read a statement from Odeon. “However there were strong British Films in 2010 too, including the likes of Made in Dagenham and Four Lions. 2011 was the first year of Odeon’s Backing British Film campaign and we strongly believe that the added incentive of Premiere Club points for guests has helped encourage cinemagoers to support home grown talent.”