Who’s distributing the best films in the UK?

15 December '14 1 Comment on Who’s distributing the best films in the UK?

Cinema screenFollowing on from last week’s look at UK distribution by number of sites I thought I’d research the quality of the films for each distributor to find out who’s behind the best films in the UK. All of today’s data looks at UK cinema releases between January 2008 and August 2014, inclusive. In summary…

  • Films distributed by the BFI get the highest ratings by critics
  • The BFI distributed 87 films in UK cinemas between Jan 2008 and Aug 2014
  • UK distributor Park Circus was behind the films rated highest by IMDb users

Who the critics think are distributing the best films

The BFI distribute the best films in the UKBy looking at the Metacritic score for each film released in the UK during my six and a half year period of study, I was able to build up a chart of the UK distributors who release the films critics love the most.

Highest average critics’ ratings (via MetaScore) by UK distributors, who have distributed at least 10 films in the UK (4th Jan 2008 to 17th August 2014 inclusive)

#DistributorReleasesAve critics' score
2Independent Cinema Office1182
3Park Circus6382
4New Wave4175
5Artificial Eye10274
6Curzon Film World3973

Crowd Pleasers

best films in the UKI also took a look at which distributors were behind the films IMDb users rated the highest.  Unsurprisingly, the same names appear. If you want to read more about this topic then you may like my previous research on the similarities  and differences between critics and audience ratings

Highest IMDb user ratings by UK distributors, who have distributed at least 10 films in the UK (4th Jan 2008 to 17th August 2014 inclusive)

#DistributorReleasesAve IMDb User Rating
1Park Circus637.8
5Independent Cinema Office117.1
7Arrow Films177.0
8Curzon Film World396.9
10Artificial Eye1026.9
14New Wave416.8

The Big Boys

Walt Disney logoThe biggest movies are invariably financed by one of the major six Hollywood studios.  These studios also distribute their own films in the UK.

Hollywood studio distribution in the UK (4th Jan 2008 to 17th August 2014 inclusive)

DistributorReleasesAve critics' scoreAve IMDb User Rating
20th Century Fox17553.46.36
Sony Pictures14052.66.35
Warner Bros15452.06.52


The data for today’s article was collected from cinemas by Rentrak and provided to the public via the BFI. Many people aren’t aware of how much data is available publicly via the BFI website. For example, you can either buy the data I used today from Rentrak directly (for commercial rates) or use the fragments of data the BFI have permission to share publicly for free, as I did. I combined 338 individual weekend box office reports to provide the basis of today’s research, containing all 3800 films released over my chosen time period. This was quite a task, so it’s entirely possible the odd error has slipped in. If you spot something awry, please let me know and I’ll fix it.



1 comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stephen Follows