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Last Updated: Friday, 11 March, 2005, 00:49 GMT
Brit films 'show popularity rise'
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The third Harry Potter film was the top British movie of 2004
British films became more popular with UK audiences in 2004, with ticket sales for the top 20 movies up 45% to 176m, according to the UK Film Council.

The council said Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and the sequel to Bridget Jones ensured a bumper year.

And Brad Pitt's blockbuster Troy, which was also classed as a British movie, took 18m at UK box offices.

"There is an increasing number of British films with widespread audience appeal," a Film Council spokesman said.

A film qualifies as British if it meets criteria relating to where it was shot, the amount of money spent in the UK and the homegrown talent involved.

TOP 20 BRITISH FILMS OF 2004
1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
2. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
3. Troy
4. The Phantom of the Opera
5. Wimbledon
6. King Arthur
7. Shaun of the Dead
8. Thunderbirds
9. Bride and Prejudice
10. Alien vs Predator
11. Alfie
12. Layer Cake
13. Around the World in 80 Days
14. Girl with a Pearl Earring
15. Finding Neverland
16. Ladies in Lavender
17. Resident Evil: Apocalypse
18. Tooth
19. 5 Children and It
20. Man About Dog
Source: UK Film Council
Other successes included The Phantom of the Opera and Wimbledon.

"What these figures show is the depth of talent present in front of and behind the camera in British film," the UK Film Council spokesman said.

"On top of this, people's film tastes are broadening. It shows there is a real appetite for British film both in the UK and around the world."

But there was a 40% drop in the number of films made in the UK in 2004 after tax rules were tightened, leading to several big projects being shelved and others relocated.

Total cinema attendances increased 2.4% in 2004 to 171.3 million, with the summer proving particularly strong thanks to releases such as Spider-Man 2.

"Whilst the success of blockbusters such as Harry Potter will always grab the headlines, the increase in box office takings for small to medium-sized British films is extremely encouraging," UK Film Council chief executive John Woodward said.

But he called on the BBC and other TV channels to increase their investment in film production.

"Whilst there have been impressive improvements in the number of recent British films being shown on some television channels, there needs to be an equally significant improvement in the amount of money invested in film production, particularly by the BBC," he said.

"As the prime public service broadcaster, the BBC should lead the way in investing in the production, acquisition and scheduling of new British films."


SEE ALSO:
The changing face of UK cinema
29 Nov 04 |  Entertainment
UK cinema avoids big downturn
06 Jan 04 |  Entertainment
Sustaining the UK film boom
12 Jan 04 |  Entertainment
Potter boosts record UK film year
12 Jan 04 |  Entertainment


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