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Wednesday, 3 January, 2001, 07:54 GMT
Lottery funds film failures
Patsy Kensit (centre) in Janice Beard 45 wpm
Janice Beard 45 wpm was funded with National Lottery money
Only one of the 11 films released and funded through National Lottery money has made a profit, according to latest figures.

More than 13.5m in lottery money has been spent by three film companies to produce and distribute 11 films since the government entrusted them with nurturing the British film industry 1997.

Pathe Productions, DNA Films and The Film Consortium have made 18 films in three years - 11 have been released - with only An Ideal Husband, made by Pathe, fully repaying its lottery investment.

The three companies have been allocated 92m for film production over the duration of a six-year franchise.

They have so far spent 37.23m on film development and production, which includes the 13.5m spent on the 11 released films.

But the Film Council, set up last year to co-ordinate Britain's film strategy and funding, says it is happy with the work the three companies are doing.

Lottery film figures
92m available over six years
13.5m spent on 11 films released so far
37.23m spent on 18 feature films and development projects so far
Seven films still await release
The new film body became custodian of the franchises last year.

It is also pursuing a separate strategy for film production in the UK, planning to inject a further 22m in the industry.

A confidential mid-term report carried out by accountants has cleared the three franchise-holding companies to continue for the next three years.

"We are happy with their work and that is why we passed them," a spokesman for the Film Council told BBC News Online.

A campaign to make the accountants' report public has been launched by Alexander Walker, film critic of the Evening Standard.

"Confidentiality was agreed between the Arts Council and the companies when the franchises were set up," the Film Council spokesman added.

John Woodward, chief executive officer of the Film Council, said on renewing the Film Consortium's franchise: "The Film Consortium has recently been revitalised and is now backed by a focused, commercially-minded publicly quoted film company.

Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet starred in Hideous Kinky which failed to ignite at the box office
"The Film Council believes that the Film Consortium management is now poised to build a successful and profitable British film company."

Pathe Productions has made nine films in the last three years.

Six have been released, with only An Ideal Husband, starring Minnie Driver and Cate Blanchett, making a profit at the UK box office.

Pathe films which have failed to ignite the British box office include Ratcatcher, which was awarded 615,000 in lottery money and made 381,099 at the UK box office.

A second was There is only one Jimmy Grimble, which received 1,650,000 from the lottery and earned 348,412 at the UK box office.

A spokeswoman for Pathe Productions told BBC News Online that ancillary earnings - from distribution rights on cable, satellite, TV, and video - could see the films eventually repaying their lottery investment.

"It was always our intention that the films would do that," she told BBC News Online.

Cinema release

Ratcatcher has earned more than 60,000 since it was released in the United States.

The Film Consortium has made five films in three years - Hideous Kinky, starring Kate Winslet, Janice Beard 45wpm, starring Patsy Kensit, and The Lost Son, Hold Back the Night and Fanny and Elvis, spending more than 5m in lottery money.

It is thought that the films have so far earned less than half that amount at the UK box office.

DNA Films has made three movies but not one has so far reached cinema screens.

Beautiful Creatures, which was planned for release in 2000, is now expected to be screened next month.

It has used almost 6m in lottery money to help finance the three films.

See also:

05 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Winslet backs British talent
02 May 00 | UK
22m boost for British films
01 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Film Council eyes the box office
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