Presentation on theme: "UK co-productions Have a look at the two film grossing tables. What can you say about the types of UK films on the lists?"— Presentation transcript:
UK co-productions Have a look at the two film grossing tables. What can you say about the types of UK films on the lists?
The British Film Industry Aim: to explore definitions of British cinema and understand its place in the film world.
Britishness When we talk about Britain what do we mean? TASK 1: What is Britishness? Brainstorm a list of elements that you consider make something British. Language Culture Food Sense of humour?
British Talent Since the 1930s the British film industry has struggled to compete with the influx of Hollywood films and the power of the Hollywood studio system. Unlike the US, Britain has never had a studio system. In addition many of the best British talents have emigrated to the Hollywood system. Task: How many British actors and directors that are now big in Hollywood can you name?
Recent example: Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright Simon Pegg began as a TV actor on shows like Spaced. The success of both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, led to interest from Hollywood. He has since appeared in US films like Mission Impossible 3 and Star Trek. In the US he is seen as a character actor and not a leading man. He has worked on UK/USA productions such as Run Fatboy Run and Paul. Edgar Wright the director of Shaun…. and Hot Fuzz has now gone to Hollywood and directed last years Scott Pilgrim.
What is British cinema? British film is not as straightforward as it might initially seem. Some films are made in Britain by Hollywood, some films are about Britain but not made in Britain and so on….the film industry is incredibly international! TASK : Discuss these questions: Does the subject, story and / or setting of the film have to be British? What are British films about? Is there such a thing as a typical British film? Does it have to be made by a British director? Does it have to be made in Britain? Does it have to be funded by a British company? Should it be made mainly for a British audience?
Definition of British film Legally a British film should have: Been mostly made in Britain with mostly a British cast and crew. Must be mostly British financed. Must represent Britain.
British Film finance Recap: how are Hollywood films financed? In the UK films are invested in like any other new product. Investors want some sort of guarantee that the product will make money. However UK films are greater risks because of competition with US films. UK film investment: The government: a very small percentage of taxes are given to the UK film council to fund films. The current Conservative government have stopped using the UK film council. The lottery: the lottery was established in 1994 to fund the arts, including film. TV companies: UK TV companies have been the most important source of funding for the UK film industry. The BBC and Channel 4 have had a big influence on the industry particularly Film Four which has subsequently closed.
Case Study – The Kings Speech The Kings Speech is a fairly rare example of a UK film that has been commercially and critically successful in the US. Watch the trailer: speech-british-film
The Kings Speech- why such a hit? Task: The Kings Speech should not have been a commercial success? Discuss. Its a low budget, human interest story. It is definitely not spectacle cinema. It is not a remake or a sequel. It doesnt feature an A list actor. It isnt directed by a big name director. Its a UK financed film set in the UK in the 1930s. It wasnt aggressively marketed. Can you name any other films that have been commercially successful with these kind of commercial risks?
So why was it such a success? Culturally one of the reasons for its success is that it deals with class and the royal family, two things US audiences love. Its also about someone with a disability overcoming it and ending up a better person, again a winner with US audiences. It is an example of heritage cinema. Films set in a romantic version of Britain. White, middle class, middle aged and often set in the past. It is also a film that older audiences (35+) will go and see as possibly their only visit to the cinema this year. The majority of films are marketed at year olds as they are the largest cinema market.
The Kings Speech- Some key numbers The Kings Speech was made for less than $15 million. By June 2011 it had grossed over $373 million worldwide. In the US it was initially screened on just 17 screens. By April 2011 it was being shown on over 1000 cinema screens in the US and had grossed over $175 million in the US alone. By this time it had one several awards including best picture at the Oscars. So how did Hollywood make money from this distinctly British film? The Weinstein Company who also own Miramax distributed the film in the US.
The sleeper hit. The sleeper hit or crossover film is a relatively low budget independent film without big name actors that does well commercially. Generally these films begin in fewer cinemas but as word of mouth spreads (and it wins awards) the film becomes a surprise sleeper hit. Read another example Titanic vs The Full Monty. The crossover film is a dream come true to Hollywood or any film industry. Why? Because it makes the biggest profit margin!
To conclude- problems with British film? Hollywood power: Most UK films are independently made and find it difficult to compete with the big US multi- national companies. The market is saturated by US imports. US films have more money to market/advertise. American imperialism: We are living in an Americanised country that is generally dominated by US culture( think of the music and TV industries as well). The idea of Britishness: until recently the British film industry was accused of ignoring issues and subject matter of those outside of the white mainstream. Recently films like Bend it Like Beckhamand Bullet Boy have begun to challenge British cultural stereotypes. However in the US and internationally heritage cinema set around the middle upper classes is what sells. There is no structured studio system and too much onus on independent financing and govt/lottery money.