Big films like these are the most visible sign of growth in the UK film and television industry, which in 2016 contributed £7.7 billion to the UK economy, 80% more than five years earlier.
Gross Value Added (GVA) of film, video and television companies, 2008 to 2016
The film and television industry also has spin-off benefits for other parts of the economy too, in areas like advertising, set design, catering and tourism.
Film and TV growth driven by production
When we break down the film and television industry into its component parts, we can see that it’s production – the preparation and shooting of movies and TV programmes – that has grown the most in recent years. In 2016 it contributed more than £2.5 billion to the UK economy.
Breakdown of Gross Value Added (GVA) in film, video and television companies, 2008 to 2016
Distribution, which includes licensing films and television programmes and managing rights, contributed more than £3.5 billion in 2016 – almost three times as much as it did in 2008. We’ve seen that the contribution to the economy from film distribution can vary a lot from month to month, suggesting that payments from licensing agreements from media companies around the world are paid according to a quarterly schedule.
The growth in post-production (editing, graphics, sound and visual effects) and projection (showing films in cinemas) is not as dramatic, but still significant.
Employment is going up
In 2016 almost 60,000 people were working in the film industry; this figure has been rising since 2013, with some of the most notable increases in the production sector.
Employees of film companies, 2009 and 2016
Tax relief for films
The Creative Industries Tax Reliefs, introduced initially for film in 2007 and later expanded to support high-end TV, video games, animation and children’s programmes, appear to have played a major part in attracting big-budget productions to the UK.
Film Tax Relief allows film production companies to claim a cash rebate of up to 25% of the money they spend making the film in the UK (up to a maximum of 80% of the film’s core expenditure).
For a film to qualify as “British” for tax purposes, it either has to pass a “cultural test” based on how much of the story, setting, production and crew are British (or from the European Economic Area), or be an official co-production from a country which has a reciprocal agreement with the UK or through the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-production.
In the last decade the British Film Institute (BFI) has certified almost 2,000 films in this way, including many blockbusters.
Top UK-qualifying films at the box office, 2008 to 2017
|Rank||Film||Year||UK and Ireland box office (£ million)|
|1||Star Wars: The Force Awakens||2015||123.2|
|4||Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2||2011||73.1|
|5||Beauty and the Beast||2017||72.4|
|7||Rogue One: A Star Wars Story||2016||66|
|8||The Dark Knight Rises||2012||59.4|
|9||Quantum of Solace||2008||57.9|
|10||Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1||2010||57.6|
Download this table.xls
Since 2007, HMRC have paid £2.3 billion of Film Tax Relief, representing almost £9 billion spent on making films in the UK. The full spend on film production in the UK since 2007 is £12.2 billion according to the BFI; this includes films which have not yet been given final certification as British.