Movie franchises pay dividends at U.K. b.o.

19 of top 20 films of decade were part of franchise

LONDON -- A glance at the top 20 pictures in U.K. cinemas from 2000-09 confirms that for Hollywood and beyond, a successful franchise really is the golden goose laying the eggs.

Research released by the Film Distributors' Association Tuesday shows that 19 of the top 20 were established franchises or at least the initial goose laying one up.

The one exception is the No. 1 hit of the past nine years, "Mamma Mia!" with boxoffice receipts of £69.1 million ($110.7 million).

All six "Harry Potter" titles released to date feature in the list, alongside the two most recent James Bond outings ("Casino Royale," "Quantum of Solace") starring Daniel Craig and the screen debut of Bridget Jones, "Bridget Jones's Diary."

All installments of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy are ranked in the top five, while the first "Chronicles of Narnia" adventure, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," also appears in the top 20.

The FDA also points out that the other notable element is local stories and characters packing out the top 20.

Between them, the top 20 films clocked up more than 200 million cinema admissions and generated more than one billion pounds in boxoffice ticket sales ($1.7 billion).

Nine of the top 20 were released in the fourth quarter of the year, highlighting the significance of the current festive period not only in terms of cinemagoing but also as a springboard into the forthcoming awards season, the FDA said.

And next year is looking good, with fresh installments in the "Shrek," "Toy Story," "Harry Potter" and "Chronicles of Narnia" series.

FDA president David Puttnam said: "The end of 2009 finds U.K. cinema in incredibly good shape following a buoyant decade which has seen a surge in the number of films released, the start of an historic transition to digital projection and, most recently, the rapid rise of digital 3D. Cinema continues to deliver an uniquely immersive means for each of us to experience the twists and turns of a story. But it also offers a very special intimacy as we share the 'on screen' experience and emotions with dozens, or even hundreds, of others. When this experience is captured by a stream of inspiring films such as those in this chart, the movies become an utterly unbeatable entertainment medium."

A trade body, the FDA reps the interests of U.K. theatrical film distributors with 22 member companies accounting for 97% of U.K. cinemagoing.

Top 20 films in U.K. cinemas 2000-09:

1. "Mamma Mia!," July 10, 2008: £69.1 million
2. "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," Nov. 16, 2001: £66 million
3. "The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring," Dec. 21, 2001: £63 million
4. "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," Dec. 19, 2003: £61 million
5. "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers," Dec. 20, 2002: £57.6 million
6. "Casino Royale," Nov. 16, 2006: £55.6 million
7. "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," Nov. 15, 2002: £54.8 million
8. "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," July 7, 2006: £52.5 million
9. "Quantum of Solace," Oct. 31, 2008: £51.2 million
10. "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," July 17, 2009: £50.7 million
11. "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," July 13, 2007: £49.4 million
12. "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," Nov. 18, 2005: £48.7 million
13. "The Dark Knight," July 25, 2008: £48.6 million
14. "Shrek 2," July 2, 2004: £48.2 million
15. "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," May 31, 2004: £46 million
16. "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," Dec. 8, 2005: £44.4 million
17. "Toy Story 2," Feb. 4, 2000: £44.3 million
18. "Bridget Jones's Diary," April 13, 2001: £42 million
19. "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," May 25, 2007: £40.6 million
20. "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," May 23, 2008: £40.1 million

Chart compiled from Nielsen EDI boxoffice data