UK film and high-end TV production spend hits £6.3bn record in 2022, but indie film spend down

The CrownA record £6.27 billion was spent on film and high-end television (HETV) production in the UK in 2022, up 11.1% on 2021; but spend on independent UK filmmaking dropped by 31%.

According to figures published today (February 2) by the BFI’s Research and Statistics Unit, film and high-end production was up £1.83bn on 2019, the last full pre-pandemic year.

However, spend on independent UK filmmaking dropped to £173.6m, representing only 9% of the total spend.

Inward investment films and HETV shows delivered £5.37bn, representing 86% of the combined production spend. This is also a record figure, up 5.7% on 2021’s £5.08bn.

In isolation, film production was up 27% on 2021, to £1.97bn. Inward investment films contributed £1.74bn (88%) of this – a 31% increase on 2021, offsetting the 31% drop on domestic films. Co-production spend accounted for £59.1m, which is 3% of total film spend, and a 3.5% increase on 2021.

HETV production increased 4.9% to £4.29bn, although this figure includes the £938.8m spent on film productions made for streaming platforms. Inward investment HETV shows contributed £3.63bn (84%) of this figure, with domestic shows at £632.7m (15%) – down 4% on 2021; and co-production spend at £36.5m – less than 1% of total spend, but almost three times the 2021 figure.

The statistics also show the increasing investment in single long-form productions by streaming platforms. 22 single UK and inward investment productions contributed £938.8m, a 23% increase on 2021, with productions including Steve McQueen’s Blitz and Ridley Scott’s Napoleon for Apple, and Emerald Fennell’s Saltburn for Amazon Prime Video.

Total films up
220 films went into production in the UK in 2022, 11 more than was reported for 2021. 100 of these were domestic UK features, and included Georgia Oakley’s Blue Jean, Philip Barantini’s Accused, Amrou Al-Kadhi’s Layla and Karim Ainouz’s Firebrand.

30 UK-international co-productions, running at the highest spend level since 2013, included Ken Loach’s The Old Oak, Jessica Hausner’s Club Zero and Nora Fingscheidt’s The Outrun.

On the inward investment films, US studios continued to see the UK as a leading production hub, with a 31% increase on 2021 spend to £1.36bn. Titles included Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Bong Joon Ho’s provisionally-titled Mickey 17 for Warner Bros; and Louis Leterrier’s Fast X for Universal.

Non-US studio inward investment films also saw an increase in spend, up 34% to £382.2m.

The £4.3bn UK spend on HETV production was the second-highest on record, down just 3% on 2021’s £4.43bn, and up 88% on 2019’s pre-pandemic £2.29bn.

195 HETV productions began principal photography in 2022, of which 55% were inward investment, 41% were domestic UK projects and 4% were co-productions.

The 80 domestic UK projects is the second-highest number since the introduction of the tax relief, again topped only by 2021.

The £3.63bn HETV inward investment total is also just 3% down on 2021; and more than double 2019’s £1.8bn. HETV inward investment series have included season two of Amazon Studios’ The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power.


“Today’s record-breaking figures for film and TV production in the UK are great news for our industry and the UK economy and underlines the success of our industry at a global level,” said Ben Roberts, BFI chief executive. “Our world-class talent, craft and production services, and vital film and TV tax reliefs, have enabled the UK to be a major player in a highly competitive global industry. Further investment in expanding studio space UK-wide to meet production demand will continue to build on this economic success and create further jobs.

“To see audiences coming back to cinemas after the pandemic for Top Gun: Maverick, Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical and independent films such as Belfast shows that film and the big screen experience is very important to people. But while independent UK films such as Aftersun and The Banshees Of Inisherin are enjoying awards and audience success worldwide and are clearly essential to the creativity of our industry and for UK culture, the continuing downturn in production spend on UK indie film means we need to stand behind the recommendations of the Economic Review of UK Independent Film to ensure it survives and thrives.

“As today’s figures demonstrate, the UK inward investment film and TV industry continues to experience remarkable growth in production, generating billions of pounds for the UK economy and thousands of new jobs in production hubs throughout the UK’s nations and regions,” said Adrian Wootton, chief executive of the British Film Commission. “It’s a real testament to the strength of our regional as well as metropolitan offer that so many major film and High-end TV productions choose to base themselves through the length and breadth of the UK. With the right levels of ongoing investment in skills, support and infrastructure, the UK is well-positioned to attract major international film and TV productions for many years to come.’’

This article first appeared on our sister site, ScreenDaily. 

The Crown image via Netflix. 

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