Page last updated at 16:41 GMT, Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Mamma Mia! boosts UK box offices

Mamma Mia!
Mamma Mia! has been nominated for two Bafta film awards

Mamma Mia! and Quantum of Solace have helped the UK box office to a record- breaking year.

Cinema-goers spent nearly 950m last year, the highest box office receipts since records began in 1989.

New figures released by the UK Film Council show the Abba-inspired musical was the biggest earner of 2008, making some 69.1m.

But overseas investment in British film productions is down almost a quarter, falling from 753m to 578.2m.

The 23% dip has been partly blamed on factors like the US writers' strike.

The new figures paint a picture of mixed fortunes for British films.

Spending on films financed and shot wholly in the UK is up more than 20% on 2007.

More than 60 feature films were produced, with the total spending reaching 192m.

Titles included the forthcoming Richard Curtis comedy The Boat That Rocked and Dorian Gray, starring Colin Firth and Ben Barnes.

Inward investment

British films financed outside of the UK, mainly from the US. suffered a fall of 35%.

This includes films like Quantum of Solace, which has taken more than 50m at the UK box office and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time , currently shooting with Jake Gyllenhaal.

Added to the crippling effects of the writers strike, US productions were being encouraged to spend closer to home because of tax incentives.

1. Mamma Mia! - 69.1m
2. Quantum of Solace - 50.8m
3. The Dark Knight - 48.6m
4. Indiana Jones - 40.1m
5. Sex and The City - 26.4m
Source: UK Film Council

UK Film Council chief executive John Woodward said: "It has undoubtedly been a tougher year for inward investment because of the exchange rate plus increased fiscal incentives now offered in more than 30 US states.

"While these effects were felt the world over, the UK tax credit has remained absolutely vital in keeping us competitive and helping to bring more than 330 million in foreign investment into our economy."

Major movies being shot in the UK this year include Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Ridley Scott's Nottingham, starring Oscar-winner Russell Crowe.

But British independent film producers are expected to find it even harder to raise funds in 2009, especially through bank loans.

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