UK attracts record levels of film and high-end television in 2014

The publication today of the BFI 2014 Production Statistics has revealed a record breaking year for production in the UK, with inward investment feature film totalling £1.2bn, and high-end television inward investment reaching £287m.

The £1.2bn UK spend from international feature films represents 85% of the total £1.4bn of film production spend in the UK last year, and means that inward investment has grown by 40% from 2013.

The UK attracted a total of 36 inward investment titles in 2014, including globally anticipated blockbusters Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Lucasfilm), Spectre (Columbia/MGM/EON), Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass (Disney), Mission: Impossible 5 (Paramount), Pan (Warner Bros.) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (Marvel).

The BFC was on hand to provide the above titles and many others with expert support and advice in a broad range of areas including crew, locations and infrastructure, helping to ensure productions were able to take full advantage of everything the UK has to offer.

Tax reliefs reap rewards

The introduction of the High End Television Tax Relief (HETV) in April 2013 has led to a surge of HETV production in the UK, with total production spend in 2014 reaching £615m. As well as attracting major international titles including 24: Live Another Day (Twentieth Century Fox Television), the fifth season of global phenomenon Game of Thrones (HBO), and the much-anticipated UK/US co-production The Casual Vacancy (HBO/BBC), the relief has allowed the production of culturally British titles such as the critically acclaimed Wolf Hall (Playground Entertainment/Company Pictures) to remain in the UK.

Additionally, the enhancements made to the UK Film Tax Relief in April 2014, which included the lowering of minimum UK expenditure to 10% and increasing the vale of the tax relief, helped productions shooting elsewhere take advantage of the UK’s industry leading VFX houses. Warner Bros. sci-fi epic Geostorm is just one example of a 2014 production which chose to utilise UK VFX talent despite shooting overseas.

Wolf Wall, © BBC

Speaking about the statistics’ publication, British Film Commission and Film London Chief Executive Adrian Wootton said: “Recent award nominationsand wins have proved 2014 was a fantastic year for UK film and talent, and these statistics show what an incredible year it was for our industry. Thesignificant number of ambitious, large-scale productions choosing our skills, our facilities and our locations is vital for the UK economy.”

Future looks bright

The UK looks set to continue as a major draw for international production in the coming year, with major titles set to shoot here in 2015 including the as-yet untitled Standalone Star Wars Project (Lucasfilm), Twentieth Century Fox’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Warner Bros.’ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, directed by Harry Potter alumni David Yates.

With demand for the UK’s talent and infrastructure growing, significant investment is being made in increasing studio capacity across the UK. 169,000 sq ft was recently added to state of the art Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, while earlier this month the Pinewood Studios Group opened new facility Pinewood Studio Wales, offering 70,000 sq. ft of shooting space.

Additionally, plans for further development at both Belfast’s Titanic Studios and Pinewood’s flagship studio are yet further indication that UK production is showing no signs of slowing down.