U.K. film distribs enjoy $1.8 bil boxoffice


LONDON -- The Film Distributors' Association (FDA) said Wednesday its members pumped just north of 300 million pounds ($598 million) into the launch and support of their releases during 2007.

According to the FDA yearbook, published March 19, theatrical film distributors injected an estimated 179.5 million pounds ($358 million) on media advertising, up 4.8% on the previous year's figure of 171.3 million pounds, and 135 million pounds ($269 million) on prints and trailers.

The FDA noted that the figures do not include costs of advertising production, publicity and premieres.

The report also noted that in overall U.K. advertising terms, Internet advertising expenditure online by FDA members hit more than 4.7 million pounds ($9.4 million) in the first year such a figure has been collated. Television remains the biggest cost with members forking out more than 74 million pounds ($147.6 million) during 2007, compared to 73 million pounds in 2006 with outdoor spend not far behind at 65.3 million pounds ($130.2 million).

But the FDA also points out that more films took a theatrical bow during 2007, with a whopping 525 movies unspooling in theaters last year, compared with 394 the previous year, increasing competition for eyeballs.

U.K. cinemagoers made an average of 2.7 million visits to the cinema each week in 2007, And last year's biggest boxoffice draw turned out to be the British wizard Harry Potter's latest adventure, "Harry Potter And The Order of the Phoenix."

U.K. and Ireland boxoffice takings in 2007 rang up 904.9 million pounds ($1.8 billion) at the tills, up from the previous year's tally of 840 million pounds, according the FDA yearbook.

The organization said that "a barnstorming summer of sequel releases" -- movies such as the latest Harry Potter, "The Bourne Ultimatum," "Spider-Man 3," "Shrek The Third" and "Pirates Of the Caribbean: At World's End" -- coupled with a wet summer and no big tournament sporting distractions had boosted boxoffice levels at just the right time.

Warner Bros. won top spot in the U.K. film distributor market share table with a 15.6% take of the market. Paramount came in second with 14.7% while Twentieth Century Fox with 13.9% and Universal Pictures with 13.8% followed in third and fourth respectively. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures U.K. rounded out the top five with 10.7% of the market during 2007 while the highest placed indie, Entertainment collared sixth spot with 9.5%. Sony Pictures took seventh with 8.2%.

The FDA is the trade body for U.K. theatrical film distributors spanning overseas studio operations such as Universal, Warner Bros and Twentieth Century Fox and independents including Entertainment Film Distributors and Pathe Distribution. The organization's members account for more than 97% of all titles released in the U.K.