UK spent a record £5.64 billion on film and high-end TV production in 2021

The combined spend by film and high-end television production during 2021 reached £5.64 billion, the highest ever reported, and £1.27 billion higher than for the pre-pandemic year 2019, BFI revealed.

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"No Time To Die"

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The latest official figures published by the BFI’s “Research and Statistics Unit” show further growth in the economic recovery of UK film and high-end TV production in the wake of the pandemic with record levels of spend contributed to the economy. The combined spend by film and high-end television production during 2021 reached £5.64 billion, the highest ever reported, and £1.27 billion higher than for the pre-pandemic year 2019.

April to June was the business part of the production year with £2.29 billion of film and high-end television production spend, the highest 3-month period for film and high-end TV spend on record, outstripping £1.54 billion generated July to September 2019.

Inward investment and co-production films and high-end TV shows delivered £4.77 billion, or 84% of the production spend underlining the UK’s global reputation as the world-leading centre for film and TV production. High-end TV shows accounted for £3.44 billion, or 72% of the combined total spend; feature films contributed £1.33 billion, or 28% of the spend. Inward investment film spend of £1.27 billion is 4% down on 2020; however, a number of films started production in 2020 and carried on in 2021 – their spend is accounted for in the 2020 statistics.

The 2021 production statistics also reveal the increasing investment made by streamer platforms in single long-form productions. In 2021, there were 36 single domestic UK and inward investment productions which contributed £737 million to the high-end TV spend of £4.09 billion. These productions include “Pinocchio,” “Matilda: The Musical,” “Persuasion,” and “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”.

Total admissions for 2021 reached 74 million, an increase of 68% on 2020’s admissions. The year presented two very different half years of business for UK cinemas. The first four months was marked by cinemas being closed and reopening from early May. Then October saw the release of “No Time To Die” and 16.4 million admissions, the third highest October on record. The trajectory of recovery saw admissions reach 38.8 million in the final quarter of the year. The total box office generated by all films on release in the UK and the Republic of Ireland in 2021 was £602 million, a 144% increase on the £247 million in 2020.

“It’s fantastic to see both the record level of spending on film and television production in the UK and the return of audiences to cinemas. We have supported the industry through the pandemic and these brilliant figures highlight the importance of the sector to our economy,”  commented Nadine Dorries, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport of the United Kingdom.

“The record-breaking level of film and TV production in the UK revealed today is good news for our industry and the UK economy and demonstrates the speed of the sector’s recovery. The groundwork for further growth is underway with expansion of studio spaces and production hot spots across our nations and regions, and working with industry to build up the skilled workforce that we need to meet demand and stay on top of our game. Government support for production with the screen sector tax reliefs and the Film & TV Production Restart Scheme have played an important part in the industry’s growth and recovery,”  added Ben Roberts, CEO of the BFI.

The record-breaking level of film and TV production in the UK revealed today is good news for our industry and the UK economy and demonstrates the speed of the sector’s recovery” Ben Roberts CEO of the BFI