Too many films are released each year, says British Film Institute

 

Arts Correspondent

The BFI, the leading organisation for film in the UK, has criticised the “ridiculous” number of films released at British cinemas, which hit 13-a-week last year, saying it was harder for good films to stay on screen long enough to build an audience.

A total of 698 films were released at the cinema in 2013, according to the latest BFI Statistical Yearbook released yesterday, 51 more than the previous year and double the level at the turn of the century.

Ben Roberts, director of the BFI Film Fund said: “There are too many films being released. That number is ridiculous, and the fact it keeps going up is not sustainable. There’s just too much stuff out there.”

The industry should “rally around really great films”, he continued, “so films like Boyhood can open well, build a strong foundation, and grow. Rather than immediately fade.”

While takings at the UK box office surpassed £1bn for the third year in a row, they fell one per cent, which the BFI put down to the lack of a film to match the success of James Bond blockbuster Skyfall.

Mr Roberts said there was no ideal number of releases, but that 700 was “too much for the audience. If admissions are level, it’s too much for the market to bear”.

The change has been aided by the conversion to digital, which has allowed “more opportunity to take films off and on".

He said: "There’s more flexibility. It can be a real benefit but there’s a real downside to it as well.”

The lack of Bond also meant that while UK films took $4.1bn around the world, the market share was down from 15 per cent in 2012 to 11 per cent last year.

Money continued to pour into the UK film industry from abroad in 2013 with £860m of the total £1.1bn spending on production coming from abroad, up 28 per cent on a year earlier.

The yearbook revealed that he UK film industry turnover was £7.3bn in 2012, with exports of £1.3bn and a film trade surplus of £789m. Amanda Nevill, chief executive of the BFI said the statistics painted a “very vibrant and buoyant picture for UK film”.

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