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Wednesday, 29 August, 2001, 16:51 GMT 17:51 UK
Hollywood slump hits UK film
The Mummy Returns
The Mummy Returns poured millions into the industry
The Film Council has blamed a decline in the fortunes of the UK film industry on the threat of a Hollywood strike earlier this year.

Recent figures reveal a marked decline in spending on films made in the UK - part of a worldwide slump in film-making due to fears of a Hollywood standstill.

The council said companies were waiting to see whether a strike would take place but now that strike action has been averted the situation will improve.

"The Americans haven't pulled out," a spokeswoman for the council said.

Band of Brothers
Band of Brothers: American production filmed in the UK
"Since we all know the strike has been averted, all the productions are coming back online again and going into pre-production."

Major American films - including Harry Potter II, the next James Bond movie and a new feature by Ridley Scott - are all due to begin filming in the UK soon.

220m was spent on films made in the UK in the first half of 2000.

But two big-money productions - Steven Spielberg's 65m TV mini-series Band of Brothers and the 67m The Mummy Returns - accounted for much of that.

The total fell to only 75m in the first six months of this year, when there were no major productions underway.

Harry Potter film cast
Harry Potter II is about to start filming
"There isn't actually a fall off. There are huge numbers of big American productions - like Harry Potter II - gearing up," the spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman denied that part of the slump was due to other countries - like the Czech Republic, Ireland and Australia - making themselves more attractive and cheaper places for film-makers to work.

Producers of A Knight's Tale, which stars Heath Ledger and Mark Addy, recreated medieval England in the Czech Republic rather than film in the UK itself.

And Pinewood Studios executive Michael Grade cited competition from abroad as one of the reasons why two of the UK's biggest film studios - Pinewood and Shepperton - were merged earlier this year.

'Better deals'

Screenwriter Simon Rose told BBC One's Breakfast programme that the strength of the pound has a big influence.

"Spielberg and others like George Lucas say we've got the greatest technicians, we've got wonderful studios, they love coming over here," he said.

"But of course they aren't particularly sentimental. They won't come over here just because it's good old Blighty and they like coming.

"If other people offer better deals then they'll obviously go there instead."

See also:

07 Mar 01 | Budget 2001
Budget boosts UK film industry
24 May 00 | Entertainment
Spielberg calls for UK film 'leader'
02 May 00 | UK
22m boost for British films
05 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Winslet backs British talent
02 Feb 00 | Scotland
Boom times for Scots film industry
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