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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 August 2005, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK
Harry Potter boosts UK box office
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The Prisoner of Azkaban took over 46m at the UK and Eire box office
Harry Potter and Bridget Jones are boosting the success of British films at the box office, new data suggests.

About a quarter of films watched at the cinema in 2004 were British, according to figures from the UK Film Council.

The top 10 performing UK films doubled their takings at the global box office - $2.3bn (1.3bn) in 2004, compared to $1.2bn (647m) in 2003.

But while films like Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason are classed as British, they are co-produced by US studios.

The demand to see more recent British films at the cinema and on television is clearly stronger than ever
John Woodward, UK Film Council

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is financed mainly by a Hollywood studio, using UK talent, technicians and locations.

A film qualifies as British if 70% of the production cost of the film is spent on film production activity in the UK, and the film maker is European.

Together, the two films had a massive impact on the box office, earning more than 18% of the box office despite representing only 4% of releases last year.

Altogether, receipts for UK films increased by 49% in 2004 to 23% of the total UK box office.

Foreign films

Around the world, UK films upped their performance with 11% of releases at the US box office - up from 8% in 2003.

Their share of the French market also increased from 5% to 13.5% in 2004, and from 7% to 17% in Germany.

Foreign-language films have also seen a rise in popularity in the UK, with 169 released in the UK in 2004 - 37.5% of total releases and a slight increase on the previous year.

Bridget Jones
The Bridget Jones sequel rang up 36m at the cinema in UK and Eire

The UK Film Council report also said terrestrial television stations in the UK were failing to show enough recent British films, despite the public's hunger for them.

Only 5.3% of the total films shown on network television were recent UK films, while 2.7% of foreign language films were broadcast, they said.

The Council called on the BBC and ITV to act.

"The demand to see more recent British films at the cinema and on television is clearly stronger than ever," said John Woodward, the UK Film Council's chief executive officer.

"With a large proportion of the British public believing that TV companies should support the British film industry by showing more new UK-made films, it's essential that the BBC should lead the way in giving audiences greater access to new British films on television and invest more heavily in UK film talent."

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