Saturday, March 12, 2005

"British" film is booming(?)

British film is doing better at the UK box office - 45% better, according to The Guardian, which reports: "Box-office takings for the top 20 British films totalled £176m [$320 million] in 2004, compared with £121m in 2003. And the number of UK films taking more than £3m at the box office jumped to 16 in 2004, from eight in 2003."

The success was largely due to "big-budget co-productions such as Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, as well as the popularity of smaller films such as Shaun of the Dead, Bride and Prejudice and Layer Cake." Among the other strong Brit performers was King Arthur (£7m), Thunderbirds (£5m), and Alfie (almost £5m). However, on closer inspection, most of these films - including Prisoner of Azkaban and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason - were really co-productions (mostly with the U.S.), so I wonder just how "British" this British resurgence really is. On the other hand, British film has often been criticized for being too insular and too small-minded. If there is to be any sustained resurgence of the British film industry, it has to be on global - and by global I mean American - terms. That's what gave British film international exposure in the 1960s, and that's what can do it again. As long as there's some room left for "small" British films, and wonderful "insular" films such as Vera Drake, I can live with that.


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