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8.1 Theatrical release of independent domestic UK films This chapter looks at the theatrical release performance, in the UK and internationally, of independent domestic UK films, by budget band. Domestic UK films are features made by UK production companies that are produced wholly or partly in the UK. Creative input to domestic films is from the UK producers, but some of the films are made with financial backing from non-British companies. However, the description ‘independent’ means that no support is provided by the major US studios. The reference period is the production years 2003 to 2011. (Production year is defined as the year in which principal photography begins.) We have restricted our analysis to these years because comprehensive production tracking data are available from 2003 onwards, and 2011 is the latest production year included as we base release rates on films which were released within two years of the start of principal photography. This will underestimate the final release rate, but provides a common measure for comparing films of different budget levels. (Looking just at independent domestic UK films produced up to 2009, 11% were released theatrically more than two years after the start of principal photography.) Our data on box office and theatrical release details (opening date, distributor, gross, etc) are supplied by Rentrak, and so the definition of release also depends on having the release data from this company. Occasionally a film might be released for a short time in a small number of venues and is not tracked by Rentrak. Such a film would be included as not released in the release rate calculations, even if the limited release occurred within two years of principal photography. It should be borne in mind that the number of effective theatrical release slots each year is tightly constrained, there being only 52 weekends per year. Films can also be released on DVD/Blu-ray, shown on television, or downloaded or streamed over different digital platforms. The theatrical release territories included in the analysis of international release performance are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, the UK and Republic of Ireland (one territory), the USA and Canada (one territory) and Venezuela. These 19 territories are covered because they account for the majority (71% in 2013, according to IHS) of the global theatrical market, and because title-matched box office data for these territories are available.1 It is possible that the ‘true’ release rates could be higher than shown in the following Tables, as our release information covers only the territories listed above. However, while our estimates of the release rates based on the available data might be slightly lower than the true worldwide release rates, they should be sufficient for providing accurate comparisons of release rates by production budget. 8.2 Release rates of independent domestic UK films in the UK and Republic of Ireland Of the 1,546 independent domestic UK films shot between 2003 and 2011, 388 (25%) were released theatrically in the UK and Republic of Ireland within two years of principal photography (Table 8.1). Looking just at films with budgets of £500,000 or more, the release rate was 48%. Release rates increased with budget, with over 80% of films made for more than £10 million achieving a UK theatrical release within two years of principal photography (10 releases from 12 productions). 1 For Colombia and Venezuela box office data are available only from early 2007, so it is possible that some of the earlier films were released in these territories but were missed from the present study. The earliest box office data for Portugal, the Netherlands and Japan are for August 2006, September 2004 and January 2004 respectively, so it is also possible that some of the films produced before these dates are incorrectly recorded as not having been released in these territories. For the other 14 territories the box office data are available from before 2003. Chapter 8: Theatrical release history and comparative performance of independent domestic UK films – 83 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Image: Quartet courtesy of eOne Films


BFI StatisticalYearBook_2014
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