Star Wars: a force for good in the British film industry
Films like Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, Justice League and Paddington 2 have brought Hollywood investment streaming into the British film industry over the past year, it was revealed today. According to figures released yesterday by the British Film Institute, inward investment for 2016 was up 18%, totalling £1.35bn.
A total of 48 major Hollywood films were shot wholly or partially in the UK last year, along with numerous smaller ones. Projects partly developed in the country, such as Bridget Jones's Baby and Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, have enjoyed international success, helping to attract more business.
One big factor is believed to have been the UK's film tax incentive scheme, intoduced in 2015 by the then Chancellor George Osborne, himself a big film fan with family connections to the industry. The dramatic fall in the pound in the aftermath of the Brexit vote is also likely to have impacted studio decisions by making the UK a much cheaper place in which to film.
"With inward investment levels for film and television at new highs, we will continue to build on this tremendous success, forging a global Britain that remains the centre for attracting and developing the world's best creative talent," said Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital and Culture. With both the pound and the dollar subject to ongoing uncertainty, however, economists caution that it is difficult to say how the trend is likely to develop over the long term.
Alongside the positive news about investment, 2016 saw continued growth at the box office, with total ticket sales of £1.227bn, and the year's most successful film - Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - itself made in the UK.