Are British films better than Hollywood films?

Towards the end of last year the BFI re-published numbers showing how poorly the average British film performs at the box office.  Overall only 7% made a profit, and that figure drops to 3.4% when you look at films costing under £500,000.  The figure was certainly headline-grabbing, but it wasn’t the whole picture.  Firstly, it doesn’t follow that the investors of the 93% of “non-profitable” films lost money.  Most UK films under £500,000 are operated via SEIS and EIS schemes which can protect as much as 78% of an investor’s money, meaning that a film can “under perform” at the box office and yet still allow the investor to recoup.  And secondly, the box office is only half the picture. …

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Which genre offers the best chance of a career?

Today’s article is a bit more complex than usual but it started with a simple question…

In last week’s article I crunched the numbers on the average number of credits UK writers, producer, director and actors have.  I calculated these based on UK films made since 2003 on over £500,000 and on UK films made since 2008 on under £500,000.  The results were fairly sobering (only about one in five filmmakers manage to make a second feature film) and it led Mustapha to ask me via Twitter:

How many of those filmmakers who didn’t make a second film made dramas? Is there any correlation or is that pattern across the board?- @MKseibati

In summary…

  • The largest number of jobs are within Drama
  • Across all budgets, Horror …
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How many films in an average film career?

Thanks to the BFI, I’ve managed to build a list of all the UK films budgeted at over £500k since 2003 and all the UK films budgeted at under £500k since 2008. That’s 2,737 feature films in total.  I’m starting to crunch the numbers on this large dataset and in the coming weeks I’ll share what I discover.

All the data in this article relates to UK films, although the people aren’t all UK nationals. First up – let’s take a look at how many films each person has been involved with.  In summary…

  • Only 13% of producers of low budget films have subsequently produced a second film
  • Under 3% of directors who have directed a film have gone on to direct two …
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What genre are british films?

Recently, both Catherine Rampell from the New York Times and Ted Hope have published interesting data on genres. Catherine Rampell looked at how audiences and critics typically rate genres differently – the genre they disagree most about is romantic comedies. On Ted Hope’s Filmonomics blog, Colin Brown showed how investors are four times keener to invest in comedies than LGBT and faith-based films. To join in the debate, I’ve had a look at genre from the point of view of the UK film industry.  In summary;

  • The genres with the highest budgetary spend are Action, Fantasy and Sci-fi.
  • By number British filmmakers mostly make Dramas, Comedies and Documentaries.
  • One in four UK films is a Drama but they make up only 7% of UK box office
  • The …
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49 Interesting Facts about the UK Film Industry

The BFI have published the latest version of their annual publication, the BFI Statistical Yearbook 2013, which focuses on data collected in 2012.

You can download the full 254 page report here at I’ve gone through and picked out what I regard as the 49 most interesting nuggets about the UK Film Industry.

1. Women only made up 13% of screenwriters and 8% of directors.  Both figures are lower than 2011 (19% and 15% respectively).

2. The BFI awarded £1m to short films in 2012.

3. 200 films passed the Cultural Test in 2012 to become officially ‘British’. Of these, 13 were official co-productions.

4. On average, films passing the Cultural Test were able to class 71% of their total budget as ‘Production Costs’ …

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