A setting in the UK? or A focus on British people abroad? A predominantly British cast? A storyline about some aspect of British life? Based on the work of a British author?
Significant returns for the UK economy through film making, inward investment, film exhibition, DVD rentals and sales, film exports The UK Film Council estimates that a successful Brit film will make up to 70% of its revenue outside the UK
If a film addresses a domestic audience about culturally specific themes, is it likely to find wider distribution difficult? Will non British people want to see the film? What significant advantage do British filmmakers have over European filmmakers?
British film production companies have co- production and distribution with Hollywood studios ‘British’ films can be funded and distributed by US companies Decisions on which British films to produce and how to market them are often based on the tastes of both domestic and American audiences
Hollywood is built around studios Companies who aim to make money from films Why are Hollywood blockbuster movies so successful?
In general Hollywood has been able to continually re-invent itself by responding to a changing marketplace and taking advantage of new opportunities offered by new technologies
British film has become more confident in expanding its range to include a wider cross- section of ethnic groupings, gender groupings and cultural groupings Promoting diversity and offering a more representative and inclusive national identity Slumdog is a recent example!
180 million tickets sold yearly Inward investment to improve the cinemagoing experience 80% of admissions come out of mainstream American distributors British „themes‟ and values
Hollywood realised that there is serious money to be made in international distribution so they invest heavily They retain the rights to their films so secure profits for many years British film industry is production led whereby distribution is usually through an American company Any money made is not going back into the British film industry „Cottage‟ industry
2004 – UK output 27 British film industry unable to respond to increasing audience demand Hollywood has diversified and strengthened to develop links with other media and delivery platforms creating vast media empires Global market at $63 billion in 2003 US takes 80% of this global market
A British production company – finances British films 1982 – 1998 known as Channel 4 film Part of channel 4s remit was to experiment and innovate and cater for audiences not addressed by other channels Nowadays they fund around 20 films per year A number of films are by first time feature screenwriters or directors They look for distinctive films which will make their mark in a competitive cinema market Television premieres on FilmFour Channel and Channel 4 2 years after theatrical release
David Rose, commissioning editor, “a preference for contemporary and social political topics” My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) portrayed the homosexual relationship between a white fascist and a Omar, born in Britain to Pakistani parents. Main audiences were contemporary critical audiences in the 20 – 30 age ranges Before Laundrette, a large percentage of the British population went largely unrepresented
1996 Starring Ewan McGregor in his 2nd film Directed by Danny Boyle a British director A co-production with Figment Films, Polygram and The Noel Gay Motion Picture co. Budget $3,500,000
David Aukin, Head of Drama at Four Films “it isn‟t really about drugs…it‟s a buddy movie” US critics compared the movie to Kubricks „A Clockwork Orange‟ Both are anti-social-realist films dealing with subjects – gangs, violence, drugs – which are stylised and fast-paced. Both are independent films which shocked the critics and audiences
However Trainspotting was more an object of youth culture or popular culture than it was cinematic Britpop was Trainspottings main vehicle to integrate youth subculture into popular culture. Polygram put large sums of money into a sophisticated marketing and branding strategy including posters and a soundtrack Knew film would appeal to clubbers and ravers so targeted these – Underworld‟s Born Slippy became a massive hit from the soundtrack Film gained distribution in the US although it did need subtitles!
The „brand‟ Trainspotting Soundtrack Posters DVDs Copied of the screenplay Reprinting of Welsh‟s novel featuring the poster on the cover Music cross-promotion
1994 Starring Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell Co-production with Polygram and Working Title Budget $6,000,000
Played upon aspects of national identity Played upon the more „naïve‟ elements of Britishness Hugh Grants quintessential fumbling middle class gentleman Appealing to an American audience A universal storyline of romance and a feel good happy ending
2008 Funded by Film4 Co-production with Celador and Pathe Directed by Danny Boyle Budget $15,000,000
Typical cost rose from £400k to £1.8million Trainspotting and Four Weddings were hugely successful although appealed to very different audiences Trainspotting was a low budget film which had carved itself a niche audience
FilmFour films explored and developed ideas of cultural hybridity East is East The first British film representing hybrid and ever changing cultural and social mix in Britain making it into mainstream multiplex cinemas. Brick Lane (2007) won a BAFTA