The first quarter (Q1) of 2023 has seen the highest volume of films released in UK and Ireland cinemas between January and March since 2014, according to statistics revealed today (May 5) by the British Film Institue’s (BFI).
However, admissions were the lowest in this period since 2014 when the BFI started quarterly reporting. This excludes 2021, the year that was impacted by a pandemic and in which most cinemas were closed. Comscore’s theatrical report shows that 234 films, including event titles, were released in Q1 2023. This includes Ireland-only releases and event titles. This is excluding three Netflix films, which had limited runs and did not report box office takings to Comscore.
There were 26 million cinema tickets sold in the UK in Q1 – 6% lower than the same period in 2022, 27% less than 2020 and 30% down on 2019.
The total Q1 2023 box- office revenue in the UK only was PS207.2m, 2% higher than box-office revenue for Q1 2022, and 21% lower than Q1 in 2019. This includes earnings from box office releases at the end December of the previous year. The highest-grossing film was
Puss in Boots: the Last Wish
with a box office of just under PS26m.
What’s Love Got to Do With It? had the highest grossing UK independent release of Q1 2023 with a box office gross of over PS4.8m.The UK independent film market share was 9%. In Q1, February was the best month for admissions with 9.2 millions tickets sold. This was largely due to two studio releases: Puss In Boots : The Last Wish, and
Ant Man And The Wasp : Quantumania. Between them, the franchise sequels delivered 40% of the UK box office in February.ProductionThe BFI has also released Q1 figures for UK production. The combined total spend on film and high-end television (HETV) production in the UK for Q1 2023 was PS922m from 88 productions.UK spend on film and HETV productions for the 12 months from April 2022 to March 2023 was PS5.3bn. This is the second highest figure since records began in 2002. This is a 29% drop from the previous 12-month record (PS7.5bn), which saw a massive volume of production due to a post Covid pandemic backlog. Inward Investment productions accounted for PS4.4bn or 84% of the total.
Forty-one films started shooting during Q1 2023, 13 fewer than as reported for Q1 2022. The total UK expenditure on these films was PS381m. This is 55% less than the record-breaking PS847m for Q1 2022. The BFI report noted that large-scale inward investment films began filming in December 2020, so were included in last year’s figures. However, the majority of these films are filming during Q1 of 2019.
During this latest 12-month period 216 films started principal photography with a total UK expenditure of PS1.5bn. This is a 37% decrease from the PS2.4bn spent in the previous 12 months. The BFI report cautions that this is likely to be revised up due to a delay in obtaining data for homegrown, low-budget films. Spending on UK features fell from PS270bn to PS158m or 10%. Coproduction films had a UK spend of PS75m and accounted for 5% of the total UK spend, and the highest figure for the past decade.
Inward investment films in Q1 2023 accounted for PS337m from 17 productions, including
A Quiet Place: Day One
Ghostbusters: Hell’s Kitchen, Back To Black
and Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. Spend from UK features was PS30.6m from 17 films, such as Four Letters Of Love, Magpie and The Stoic. UK-Ireland production Kneecap also started principal photography, one of seven co-productions, totalling a spend of PS13.5m.HETVForty-seven HETV productions began principal photography in Q1 2023 with a total UK spend of PS549m, a decrease from PS999m reported in the Q1 2022 official statistics release. The Q1 spend on inward investment and co-productions was PS408m (74% of the total) and domestic productions accounted for PS141m.Between April 2022 and March 2023, 186 HETV productions started principal photography, 64 fewer than in the previous 12 month period. Total HETV production expenditure was PS3.7bn. This is the second highest amount since the introduction of HETV tax relief.