What genre are british films?

21 October '13 6 Comments on What genre are british films?

UK filmRecently, 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 highest grossing genre at UK cinemas is Comedy
  • On DVD, audiences prefer to buy Action films but rent Dramas

What Genres Are British Films?

By number we’re making Dramas, Comedies and Documentaries, although the highest spend is on Action, Fantasy and Sci-fi films.


What’s Doing Well in UK Cinemas?

Comedy brings in the most money, closely followed by Action and Animation. Although a huge number of the films on theatrical release are Dramas (over one in four), they account for only 7% of the UK Box Office. Film releases in UK cinemas by Genre 2003-12

Finally, UK Home Video…

Every year since 2004, Comedy has been the biggest draw for Home Video physical sales (VHS, DVD and Blu-rays). Home video physical sales in the UK 2003-12 It’s interesting that audiences seem to prefer to buy Action films but rent Dramas. Home video physical rentals in the UK 2003-12 Physical rental is a waning business but this data may prove useful in predicting what will perform well on emerging platforms, such as iTunes and other Video on Demand services.

So Many Sources…

Today’s British film data was brought to you courtesy of the BFI/UK Film Council, Kantar Worldpanel, British Video Association, Official Charts Company, Rentrak, BBFC, IMDb, EDI and the letter Q. Apologies for the jpeg graphs; my normal fancy method isn’t very good at showing this much data and so I resorted to Excel. Dammit Jim, I’m a producer not a designer.



  1. can you clarify in regard to the statement “One in four UK films is a Drama but they make up only 7% of UK box office” since I thought that UK films only made up about 6 or 7% of the UK box office total anyway with the rest coming from the USA and the rest of the world ? so does this mean that Drama accounts for 7% of the total box office from UK films on UK screens?

      1. Hey Stephen,
        It would be great to see an update to this data.
        Has anything changed since 2013?
        Also wouldn’t “1 in 4” be 25%?

  2. “Every year since 2004, Comedy has been the biggest draw for Home Video physical sales”
    Have you done a similar study in the US?

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