Potter leads the box office boost for British movies


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The Independent Online

Cinema-goers flocked to see British movies last year, including the final instalment of the Harry Potter series and The King's Speech, as box office takings broke through the £1bn barrier in the UK for the first time.

The BFI hailed 2011 as a year in which "British film thrived" as it published its 10th annual Statistical Yearbook yesterday, for both the filmmakers and at the box office.

Cinema-goers spent just over £1bn on more than 172 million tickets, up from £645m a decade ago, and 5 per cent higher than in 2010.

Independent British films hit the highest proportion of the UK box office in a decade, hitting 13.3 per cent, up from 3.8 per cent in 2001.

UK films took $5.6bn around the world, about 17 per cent of the whole market. Amanda Nevill, chief executive of the BFI, said the domestic industry "is punching above its weight on the world stage".

The top three films were all British, with domestic films taking a record 13 per cent share of box office takings. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, a UK-made film backed by US studio Warner Bros, took £73m in the UK, the third most of all time. It went on to rake in £1.3bn worldwide.

The King's Speech, which won a string of Oscars, took £46m and gross-out comedy The Inbetweeners Movie, was close behind with £45m.

While the number of feature films produced in the UK, whether wholly or in part, fell from 343 to 274, the total spending on UK-based productions hit a new high of £1.2bn. This came as big budget films such as the new Bond film Skyfall and Snow White and the Huntsman.

The most recent figures put the film industry's contribution to gross domestic product at £3.3bn. Yet, the film body said despite the strong year, the economic conditions made raising film finance tough.