| 7.1°C Belfast

Star Wars and Bond help UK cinemas to record-breaking year


Cinemas in the UK enjoyed a record-breaking year

Cinemas in the UK enjoyed a record-breaking year

Cinemas in the UK enjoyed a record-breaking year

More money was taken at UK cinemas in 2015 than any year in history, as audiences flocked to see the return to the big screen of Star Wars and James Bond.

Just over £1.2 billion was made at box offices across the country, a jump of 17% on 2014 and the highest figure on record.

Cinema admissions were also up, after dropping the previous year. Almost 172 million tickets were sold, a rise of 9% on 2014.

The figures were hailed by Amanda Nevill, head of the British Film Institute (BFI), as continuing proof of "a golden age" for homegrown movies.

The two highest-grossing films of 2015, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Spectre, were both made in the UK.

The Force Awakens took a record-breaking £113.96m at the box office, while Daniel Craig's return as James Bond in Spectre pulled in £94.74m.

It was also a strong year for British independent films.

Legend, starring Tom Hardy as both Kray twins, made over £18 million at the box office, enough to make it into the UK's top 20 highest-grossing films of 2015.

A total of eight independent films took over £5 million, ranging from The Lady In The Van starring Dame Maggie Smith (£12 million) to the Shaun The Sheep Movie (£14 million).

Ms Nevill said: "With spend from film production over £1.4 billion, audiences flocking to cinemas and UK box office topping £1.2 billion for the first time, today's numbers show a golden age of British film continuing - and underlines film's important contribution to the UK economy.

"It's significant that a wide range of fantastic British independent films won the hearts and minds of audiences in a hugely competitive year.

"But it's clear that the market is still tough for the makers and distributors of independent and specialised films."

Provisional data shows that 178 independent productions began filming in the UK in 2015, down from 289 in 2014.

This is a fall of 38%, though the figures could be revised upwards once information on low budget films becomes available.

The number of US studio productions that started filming in the UK in 2015 was 23, up slightly on the figure of 21 for 2014.

High-profile films that began photography in the UK in 2015 included David Brent: Life On The Road, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and Bridget Jones' Baby.