Film Production Levels on the Rise

By Macnab, Geoffrey | Screen International, April 9, 2014 | Go to article overview

Film Production Levels on the Rise


Macnab, Geoffrey, Screen International


Update on the global movie market at the British Screen Advisory Council's annual conference also claimed that box office remains the major driver of revenues for US studios; older audiences are increasingly important; and physical media remains ahead of digital - for now.

This year's conference of the British Screen Advisory Council featured an upbeat assessment of the global movie market from leading media analyst Ben Keen.

Speaking at the annual event at London's Royal Institution, Keen (chief analyst and vp media at IHS) unveiled figures underlining the underlying health of the international film industry - debunking some long held myths in the process.

Production levels are continuing to rise in most parts of the world, in spite of the belief held by many that the international film industry is in crisis.

"What do the numbers show? Globally, production levels are rising almost every year," Keen said. The US studios have cut back in their output but the independents are making up for the shortfall.

Box office remains key

Meanwhile, box office remains the major driver of revenues for the US studios in spite of anxiety about the "theatrical window" in an era of multiplatform releasing.

In the US, box-office growth may be "relatively flat," but international box-office, driven by emergent markets like China, has soared.

"We've seen rising ticket prices everywhere. We've seen the growth of digital and 3D pushing up ticket prices," Keen said.

Despite the widely held belief that exhibitors are innately conservative, the last 11 years have seen a huge transformation in their practices. A total of 87% of all global screens are now digital and Keen forecast that "celluloid...will be a thing of the past" by the end of 2015.

Independent spirit

Keen disputed the often-repeated idea that "the Hollywood majors are ever more dominant," pointing out that the non-US share of local box office across the world has been "growing solidly".

"In the key growth markets, particularly countries like India and China, US share is particularly low," the analyst continued.

"Even in the US market, we have seen the tremendous performance from a range of independent studios actually taking share from the majors."

In 2013, the six leading independents (led by companies like Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company) took 20% of the US box-office. "The scary thing is that the rest of the independent studios were left with less than 5% of that market," added Keen. …

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