UK production spend hits £651m in the first three months of 2020

Inward investment projects dominate domestic titles with hefty production spend 

Production spend in the UK during Q1 of 2020 was once again dominated by inward investment projects, with domestic titles showing a downward spiral.

During the first three months of 2020, the combined spend from film and high-end TV (HETV) was £651m, with the revenue coming from a total of 51 productions.

That figure represents a 25% increase on the same quarter last year, marking the second-highest ever Q1 spend.

The new stats run up until 16 March 2020, not the end of March as in other years, due to the effect of the Covid-19 shutdown in production.

The total amount of films that began shooting in the UK during the first three months of this year was 29, with the total production spend hitting £385m, a leap of 40% on the same time last year.


However, £368m of that – around 96% - came from inward investment projects and international co-productions.

There was a drastic drop of more than 70% in the spend from domestic film production compared to the same quarter in 2019, with just £17m being spend in the first three months of this year.

In terms of HETV, 22 productions began filming in Q1, with a slight rise – 7% - in production spend compared to last year. This year’s quarterly total for HETV spend was £265.7m.

Yearly stats from the BFI showed an all-time record high in overall production spend: the total film and HETV spend for the rolling period April 2019 to March 2020 was £3.6bn, an increase of £200m on the previous 12-month period. Of the £3.6bn total, £3.1bn came from 161 inward investment and co-productions projects.

The shutdown in production since the UK lockdown began on 23 March has meant that big-budget, large-scale projects such as The Witcher 2, Jurassic World: Dominion and The Batman have been suspended, with no dates in place yet for when they can safely re-start.

The British Film Commission is currently working with the BFI on a consultation of draft proposals of how the production industry may resume filming safely.

The Witcher image: Katalin Vermes/Netflix.

UK production spend hits £651m in the first three months of 2020
The Witcher via Katalin Vermes/Netflix
UK production spend hits £651m in the first three months of 2020
The Witcher via Katalin Vermes/Netflix

Production spend in the UK during Q1 of 2020 was once again dominated by inward investment projects, with domestic titles showing a downward spiral.

During the first three months of 2020, the combined spend from film and high-end TV (HETV) was £651m, with the revenue coming from a total of 51 productions.

That figure represents a 25% increase on the same quarter last year, marking the second-highest ever Q1 spend.

The new stats run up until 16 March 2020, not the end of March as in other years, due to the effect of the Covid-19 shutdown in production.

The total amount of films that began shooting in the UK during the first three months of this year was 29, with the total production spend hitting £385m, a leap of 40% on the same time last year.


However, £368m of that – around 96% - came from inward investment projects and international co-productions.

There was a drastic drop of more than 70% in the spend from domestic film production compared to the same quarter in 2019, with just £17m being spend in the first three months of this year.

In terms of HETV, 22 productions began filming in Q1, with a slight rise – 7% - in production spend compared to last year. This year’s quarterly total for HETV spend was £265.7m.

Yearly stats from the BFI showed an all-time record high in overall production spend: the total film and HETV spend for the rolling period April 2019 to March 2020 was £3.6bn, an increase of £200m on the previous 12-month period. Of the £3.6bn total, £3.1bn came from 161 inward investment and co-productions projects.

The shutdown in production since the UK lockdown began on 23 March has meant that big-budget, large-scale projects such as The Witcher 2, Jurassic World: Dominion and The Batman have been suspended, with no dates in place yet for when they can safely re-start.

The British Film Commission is currently working with the BFI on a consultation of draft proposals of how the production industry may resume filming safely.

The Witcher image: Katalin Vermes/Netflix.

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