Record Box Office

SkyfallUK cinema is on course for new record box-office receipts in 2012, with big-screen ticket sales remaining buoyant during an exceptional year of sporting and cultural celebrations.

Film Distributors’ Association (FDA) today announces that in the first 45 weeks of this year (to 9 November), UK film distributors have invested more than £300 million to release 567 new titles, practically as many as in the whole of 2011 (577), giving cinema audiences a wider choice than ever before.

Five of the year’s top ten to date were released in both 3D and 2D digital formats. 3D remains a popular attraction for UK audiences, accounting for £1 in every £6 spent on cinema tickets this year. The top 3D release of 2012 to date is Marvel Avengers Assemble. A total of 39 films have been released in 3D in 2012 to date, compared with 47 in all of 2011.

In the last week of October, when Skyfall was released, UK moviegoers spent £53.2 million on cinema tickets, practically as much as in the whole of the previous month, September 2012 (£55.7 million). To date, 14 million people have seen Skyfall in a UK cinema, equivalent to a quarter of the population.


With a mix of popular films on offer, cinemagoing has kept buoyant despite this year’s other, very powerful attractions. The second week of the London Olympics (w/c 3 August) is the sixth best week for UK cinemagoing in 2012 to date. The first week of the Olympics (w/c 27 July) is the 12th best week for UK cinemagoing in 2012 to date – with 45 weeks of the year now passed. The week of the Diamond Jubilee double bank holiday (w/c 1 June) is the second best week for UK cinemagoing in 2012 to date, behind the one in which Skyfall amassed its record-breaking opening (w/c 26 October).

With UK cinema box-office receipts crossing the £1 billion threshold this week, ticket sales are running 1% ahead of the same point in 2011, with an outstandingly strong and diverse line-up of titles yet to open, including Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Christopher McQuarrie’s Jack Reacher, Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, Debbie Isitt’s Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger and Mike Newell’s star-laden version of Great Expectations. Bill Condon’s final part of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, released last week, will secure a position in the full year’s top ten titles.

Lord (David) Puttnam CBE, FDA President, said: “UK cinema is ending 2012 in barnstorming style. The box-office is heading for a new record with every chance the momentum will be maintained well into the New Year. Audiences craving cutting-edge entertainment over the holiday season need look no further than their local cinemas.”

UK cinema factsheet

  • § There is insatiable demand for stories on film: taking all platforms and formats into account, people in the UK each watch an average of 7 films per month, mostly on television.
  • § 1 in 7 British adults go to the cinema at least once a month.
  • § With approximately 1% of the world’s population, the UK accounts for 7% of the world’s cinema box-office receipts and one-fifth of the box-office in Europe.
  • § The UK’s 8 million 15–24 year-olds each go to the cinema on average 6 times a year – the most frequent cinemagoers in the population. Yet a quarter of annual audiences are aged over 45.
  • § In 2011, UK cinema box-office receipts reached £1.03 billion from 171.5 million admissions, the third highest admissions total in the last two decades. Scotland accounted for 9.3% of UK admissions, Northern Ireland 3.3%, England & Wales 87.4%.
  • § Box-office takings in London topped £300 million in 2011 for the first time (£302.5 million), as the capital’s region generated 29% of total UK box-office. London’s West End alone accounts for almost 9% of UK box-office, as well as hosting many of the world’s biggest premieres.
  • § The UK has 745 cinemas with 3,767 screens. By spring 2013, the on-going process of conversion to digital projection systems (from 35mm) will be practically completed.
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