10 Things We Learnt From The FDA Yearbook…

Thursday, April 19 2012
10 Things We Learnt From The FDA Yearbook…

The arrival of the any trade-related yearbook is always an exciting moment in The Raygun office. For anyone in the trade, and certainly for us on the trade press, it’s the perfect way to enjoy a tea break,  sitting, with our feet up, brew in hand, a film or some weird soundtrack choice playing in the background, flicking through the pages and exclaiming (even to ourselves): “Blimey! I didn’t know that.”

Now, even if you’re not as enamoured of that ritual as us, part of the reason we at The Raygun is here is so we can pore over the pages and then pull out some of the interesting, useful, and sometimes unique facts and figures and present them to you.

The annual FDA Yearbook is one such publication. The Film Distributors’ Association, is the theatrical trade organisation and its yearly state of the nation address makes for some insightful reading.

So here we offer up 10 things we learnt from the FDA Yearbook 2012…

  1. Despite the doom and gloom you might often hear surrounding the filmed entertainment industry, there’s still plenty of people desperate to get involved in the business… Just look at the theatrical market, where, in 2011, 586 films were released at cinemas, an average of more than 10 a week and the most ever released in a year. Compare it to 10 years ago – in 2002, a mere 396 films were put out at cinemas. If business is so tough, how come more films than ever are being released? A lot of this growth can be put down to the limited theatrical release strategy so beloved of UK DVD labels, who use the platform release as both a launch pad for their releases and also to ensure that their vod sales are maximised (the more screens a film opens on, the more it can sell to pay per view companies for…
  2. Avatar is still the film to beat… The top 50 highest grossing films of all time at the UK b ox office always makes for fascinating reading and as 2012 progresses it’s given an added frisson by the return of some previous record holders which have been given a new lease of life. Already in 2012 there have been theatrical releases for Titanic and Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (numbers four and 16 respectively in the top 50) have benefited from theatrical re-releases, each of which has presented the film in 3D. In the case of the former, its £8 million haul thus far (as of April 16 2012) has seen it past Toy Story 3 and the most recent entrant at  the upper echelons of the all-time grossers (Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2) and into second place. But it’s still got a long way to go before it catches up with Avatar, the runaway leader with more than £94 million in revenues…
  3. 3D continues to pull in punters at cinemas… According to figures in the FDA Yearbook, a record number of 3D films were released at cinemas in the UK in 2011, up from the previous year’s 27. And although figures were fairly stagnant in terms of revenue (the FDA thinks it’s down to a natural settling for the format and also the absence of the Avatar factor), it still represents £1 in every fiver spent at UK cinemas – a whopping total of more than £235 million in receipts. Now, if only 3D Blu-ray was as popular…
  4. 2011 really was a remarkable year for British films… Just look at the overall top 50 earners, or rather look at the top 10. Closer still, why not try the top three… For while we’re still not entirely sure about Harry Potter’s Britishness (Warner is, after all, an American giant), the top three are all homegrown products (The King’s Speech and The Inbetweeners Movie were in the second and third spot respectively), four of the top 10 are British and almost a third of the top 25 were British too. More than £300 million came from British productions, with a market share for homegrown independent films being at 13.5 per cent, a record number…
  5. Comedy and action are the tops when it comes to genres… Each make up around 20 per cent of market share in genres, the former experiencing a three per cent drop, the latter a similar rise in fortunes. If you lump in adventure and suspense genres with action (the latter boosted by another Britflick, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, then, as the Yearbook notes, you’re looking at £1 in every £3 spent on these genres. Documentaries were up, thanks to the likes of Senna, while animation had almost exactly the same number of films and market share as the previous year.
  6. London is still the centre of the universe when it comes to cinemagoing… With more sites and more screens, the capital is still the biggest market when  it comes to theatrical releases. More than £300 million of total theatrical revenues comes from London; of that, £80 million derives from the West End. The only other regions to break the £100 million barrier in terms of receipts were the Central (£135 million) and Granada (£102 million) areas…
  7. For theatrical exhibitors, the Internet is an increasingly important way of  reaching potential cinemagoers… And it’s also taking up an ever-growing chunk of overall marketing spend too. Of the distributors’ near £200 million total media advertising spend, some £8.45 million was spent on Internet advertising. That total has doubled from the 2008 figure, and is £3 million up on the previous year’s. The £196 million media spend was up on the 2010 figure, with the lion’s share (£90 million) going on televion. Outdoor accounts for almost £70 million, press nearly  £22 million, with radio’s share of the spend declining to just under £6.5 million.
  8. Big cinema releases can give other areas a boost… We’d love to see some figures on DVD drafting on the back of big theatrical releases, but the FDA Yearbook does contain some intriguing figures on the positive spin-off effects of blockbuster titles coming out at cinemas. Take books: the Yearbook has a chart of the bestselling film tie-in books of 2011; more than 1.8 million copies were sold of the top 30 books of films… One Day was the bestseller of the bunch, the film version of David Nicholls’ novel selling almost 340,000 copies,  The Help totalled 143,000. Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series shifted more than 250,000 across the three Momentum-themed original Swedish language tie-ins (which used the supplier’s artwork for inspiration); throw in the version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo tying in with David Fincher’s take on the thriller, and you’re looking at more than 300,000 sales…
  9. DVD still holds its own against other entertainment formats… The games industry seems particularly keen on comparing its fortunes with those of our industry, but one chart in the FDA Yearbook offers some enlightenment. Compiled by ERA, the Entertainment Retailers Association http://www.eraltd.org/, it compiles 2011’s bestselling entertainment products in terms of unit sales. Number one is Adele’s 21, followed by the latest Call Of Duty outing, Modern Warfare 3, with the first of the final brace of Harry Potter films, Deathly Hallows Part 1, is at number three. In total four of the top 10 are made up of video titles (Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Inbetweeners Movie and The King’s Speech), half of the top 20 and 12 of the 25 featured are DVD and Blu-ray titles. That’s no mean feat, and while it may not generate as much revenue as games (five of the 25 in total) or have the top seller like music (Adele’s 21 has sold almost 1.5 million units more than 2.5 million), it still boasts more individual entries than either of the two entertainment industries.
  10. The theatrical  business is still obsessed with records… We started this chart with a record – the number of films released in 2011 – and one thing we continually love about our industry, particularly the theatrical business, is its unerring ability to find new ways of breaking records. So, for example, the UK and Irish box office total for the year passed the £1 billion mark in 46 weeks, the fastest time ever it had reached that total. The London box office total (see above) passed £300 million for the first time ever, while overall admissions were at 171.5 million, the third highest total of the past 30 years…
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