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Launching Films

Research & databank

2006 Overview Logout

Overview – how distributors connected new films and public audiences

UK theatrical film distributors invested more than £300m in film prints & advertising (P&A) to launch, support and sustain their releases in 2006. This comprised an estimated £135m on prints and trailers, plus £171.3m on media advertising (+3.3% vs. 2005). Additional sums were spent on campaign production, publicity and premieres. There were 68 film premieres in 2006, of which 41 were held in London’s Leicester Square, while in every month of 2006 approximately 10,000 print movements took place to, from and between UK cinemas.

This P&A investment generated gross box-office receipts in cinemas of £767m (£840m including the Republic of Ireland; level with 2005). Source: Nielsen EDI. The UK retains its position as the world’s third most valuable theatrical market after the US/Canada and Japan.

In addition to the theatrical box-office, almost 1 in 5 DVD purchases and rentals may be attributed directly to a previous cinema visit to see the same film, accounting for a £554m slice of the UK home entertainment market (source: TNS). This confirms the pivotal role of cinema as a launch pad for films throughout their lifecycle.

Vibrant, competitive market

505 new films received a UK theatrical release in 2006 – an average of almost ten a week – up from 467 in 2005.

1 in 8 cinema tickets purchased were for the top two runaway hits of the year. Both Casino Royale and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, which had many British actors among their international casts, crossed the £50m box-office threshold to claim places in the UK’s all-time top ten. This list is still headed by Titanic (£69m UK box-office in 1998).

1 in 6 cinema tickets purchased were for animated films, which had a strong year. Three animated features – Ice Age 2, Cars and Happy Feet – were placed in the 2006 top ten.

Increasingly diverse market

Films from at least 33 countries were released by UK distributors. Top foreign language release of the year was Almodóvar’s Volver (£2.8m). The rise of Bollywood movies in the UK continued apace in 2006. Out of 53 Bollywood releases, four grossed more than £1m and the segment accounted for almost 2% of the entire UK market.

Well over 100 films, including the entire top 20, were released in accessible versions with digital subtitles and audio description for cinemagoers with less than perfect hearing and sight. Also, more films than ever before had accessible versions of their trailers posted online.

Nevertheless, the average spend on cinema tickets per UK household in 2006 was just £30. This compares with an average household spend on communications (telecoms, television, internet) of £1,052 (source: Ofcom). FDA believes there is room for further growth in cinemagoing and is optimistic for prospects in 2007.