The British Public's Love Affair With Hollywood Blockbusters Going Strong

11:39 AM PST 09/16/2011 by Stuart Kemp
© Weinstein Company

Brits overwhelmingly support public funding for movie-makers too.

LONDON – The British public watch films mostly at home, over 50% of the British public think there are too few British films shown in the U.K. and the most popular movies are “perhaps unsurprisingly” Hollywood backed blockbusters “with big budget special effects and a star cast.”

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According to a report published by the British Film Institute entitled “Opening Our Eyes: How film Contributes to the Culture of the UK,” 49% of people watching film goggle blockbusters.

The most dominant popular genre among the 2,036 British public asked – no experts or industry specialists were involved – is comedy with 69% opting for the laugh factor.

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And the survey, aimed at trying to establish film’s influence on society and cultural matters, also provided a fillip for lobbyists vying for public funding into movies.

78% of people in the UK are in favor of public funding for movie-making ambitions through the national lottery, according to the survey, which also revealed that film was more popular than sport in the eyes of the British public.

And being regarded as a British film is no bad thing either.

As long as they’re not films about posh, South East England Brits.

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Half of those asked said that they were more likely to watch a film if it was British – and 86% said that they had seen a British film in the past year.

But 34% of those surveyed felt there were too many films telling stories about “rich and privileged people living in London and the Home Counties”, while 40% think that there aren’t enough films that feature disabled people.

The report on the British public’s views on film, prepared for the BFI by Northern Alliance and Ipsos Media CT, aims to provide in depth data on the films that really matter to the public, why they watch them and the effect they have.

The BFI said the research gives it “a democratic assessment of film in the U.K., outside of expert, critical and industry polls.”

The top ten British movies most mentioned by those surveyed as having “significant effect on society or attitudes in the U.K.” contained some surprises.

Trainspotting, The Full Monty, East is East, Billy Elliott, The King’s Speech, This is England, Cathy Come Home, Brassed Off, Slumdog Millionaire and Kidulthood all made the list.

Report co-author Ian Christie noted Cathy Come Home, while mentioned as a British movie with impact was never seen in movie theaters as it was a made-for-television film.

Overall, The King’s Speech was most frequently mentioned as having a personal effect on people, followed by Schindler’s List, Avatar, Slumdog Millionaire, Titanic and The Shawshank Redemption.

The full report, findings and comments will be posted by the BFI on its website.

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