U.K. 1st-half b.o. jumps 6%

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Cinema boxoffice revenue for the first half rose 6% above the level of the same period last year, hitting a total of £396.8 million ($813.7 million) in ticket sales, according to figures published by the Film Distributors' Assn.

The FDA attributed the rise in boxoffice action to the popularity of such homegrown movies as "Mr. Bean's Holiday," "Notes on a Scandal" and "Hot Fuzz" as well as the return to the big screen of such proven character draws as Captain Jack Sparrow ("Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"), Shrek ("Shrek the Third"), Spider-Man ("Spider-Man 3") and Rocky ("Rocky Balboa").

The organization also drew attention to the sheer choice being offered audiences with 246 films securing a U.K. cinema release. The rise in cash from tickets was matched with a 6.4% rise in admissions in the first half, with 76.9 million tickets sold, compared with 72.3 million year-over-year.

The rise in audiences came on top of a rise in advertising outlay.

The FDA said that U.K. film distributors invested £82.4 million ($168.9 million) in media advertising during the six months ending in June to launch and sustain their releases, an increase of 4% above the same period in 2006.

About £34.2 million ($70.1 million) was spent on TV spots, £28.8 million ($59 million) on outdoor poster panels and £13.6 million ($27.9 million) on press advertising. Online and radio commercials accounted for the remaining £5.8 million ($11.9 million), the FDA figures indicate.
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