Movies high on U.K.'s summer priority list


LONDON -- Moviegoing in the U.K. is better than sunbathing, music festivals and country walks, while watching the Olympics is at the bottom of adult wish lists for the upcoming summer months.

Going to the movies is beaten only by holidays abroad and barbecues with friends in the summer popularity stakes, according to the results of a survey of teenagers and people 15 and older published Friday by the Film Distributors' Assn.

The survey also revealed that about 81% of those polled agreed summer is a time when "a lot of the year's best films come out."

According to the FDA research, more than a third of men and 27% of women said they "can't wait" for at least some of the summer releases. Overall, two-thirds claimed they were at least "looking forward" to going to the movies as part of their summer.

Conducted earlier this year, the survey comprises online interviews providing participants with a long list of indoor and outdoor summertime activities and asking them to place them in order of anticipation, starting with "the best thing about summer 2008."

"The survey indicates that, for most of us, our summers are partly but increasingly defined by the experience of the films we see in cinemas," FDA chief Mark Batey said.

The FDA said that, from May-August 2007, distributors unspooled 162 titles and are likely to match that total this year.

Aiming to bolster the summer's cinemagoing, the FDA launched a pair of initiatives ahead of May.

First up is a one-minute compilation trailer of 28 upcoming releases from the May-August period that will play on 3,000 cinema screens beginning April 25. The trailer also will run online.

This summer also will see free distribution of 1 million copies of "Focus," a movie preview magazine, to members of the public in what is billed as the largest movie magazine give-away in the U.K.