U.K. movie ad spending neared $600 mil in 2007


Britain's Film Distributors Assn. said Wednesday that its members pumped more than £300 million ($598 million) into the launch and support of their releases during 2007.

According to the new FDA yearbook — which shows Warner Bros. atop the U.K. leader board with a 15.6% market share — theatrical film distributors spent an estimated £179.5 million ($358 million) on media advertising, up 4.8% from 2006. Another £135 million ($269 million) was sunk into prints and trailers. (The FDA notes that the figures do not include the costs of advertising production, publicity and premieres.)

The report also noted that Internet advertising expenditure by FDA members in the U.K. hit more than £4.7 million ($9.4 million) in the first year that figure has been measured. Television remains the biggest cost, with members forking out more than £74 million ($147.6 million) in 2007, compared with £73 million in 2006, with outdoor spending not far behind at £65.3 million ($130.2 million).

But the FDA also points out that more films took a theatrical bow during 2007, with 525 movies unspooling last year, compared with 394 in 2006.

U.K. and Ireland boxoffice earnings in 2007 rang up £904.9 million ($1.8 billion), up 7.7% from the previous year's tally, according to the yearbook.

In the race for market share, Warners was followed by Paramount, which captured 14.7% of the territory's business. 20th Century Fox, Universal and Disney followed with 13.9%, 13.8% and 10.7%, respectively. The year's highest-placed indie, Entertainment Film Distributors, finished sixth with 9.5%.

U.K. cinemagoers made an average of 2.7 million visits to the cinema each week in 2007, with "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" the year's biggest boxoffice draw.

The organization said that "a barnstorming summer of sequel releases" — which included "Phoenix," "The Bourne Ultimatum," "Spider-Man 3," "Shrek the Third" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" — coupled with a wet summer and a lack of big sporting distractions boosted boxoffice levels at just the right time.

The FDA is the trade body for U.K. theatrical film distributors including Hollywood-based studio operations and independents like EFD and Pathe Distribution. The organization's members account for more than 97% of all titles released in the U.K.