Mixed fortunes for UK film industry

The British film industry enjoyed "mixed fortunes" last year with record box office receipts but a decline in the number of cinema visits, according to statistics released today.

The British Film Institute's (BFI) statistical yearbook showed film fans watched an average of 81 movies in 2010.

Box office receipts rose to £988 million, up 5% on 2009, but the number of cinema tickets sold was down 2% to just over 169 million in the same period.

The vast majority of box office receipts came from the 100 biggest films, which accounted for 90% of takings.

The biggest earner was Toy Story 3, which pulled in almost £74 million alone. Other big earners include Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1, which earned £52 million and Alice In Wonderland, which brought in £42 million.

British films accounted for almost a quarter (24%) of box office receipts - up from 17% in 2009.

Early figures for The King's Speech, which was released in January so will be covered fully in the next yearbook, show it earned more than £45 million in the first half of 2011.

BFI chief executive Amanda Nevill said: "The numbers and trends in this latest Yearbook, brought bang up to date by the half-year production and box office figures for 2011 so far, tell a story of mixed fortunes in British film. Overall it is holding up remarkably well, with more people watching more film on more platforms, an increase in inward investment and significant activity in low-budget film-making.

"These are all good reasons to be optimistic but there are still challenges, such as the shifting home entertainment platforms for film which are seeing DVD sales fall. It is essential that there is continued investment in innovation, skills and new talent to ensure Britain's position remains competitive, with a focus on education to help grow audiences, instilling a passion for film and encouraging them to be more adventurous."