London (Reuters): One in four Britons went to the cinema at least once a week last year, making British film fans amongst the keenest in the world and defying a global decline in ticket sales, the UK Film Council said. A raft of successful home-grown films like Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, Wallace And Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit and Batman Begins helped draw in audiences. Admissions around the world fell in 2005, by nine per cent in the United States, 10 per cent in France and 19 per cent in Germany, the council said yesterday.
''2005 was a great year for British films at the cinema with the largest slice of box office taking since records began,'' the chief executive of the UK Film Council said. ''In addition we are seeing the public becoming more adventurous in their film choices with a growth in audiences for foreign language films,'' John Woodward said in a statement. British films accounted for a third of cinema receipts in Britain and brought in over three billion dollars worldwide while the three most successful foreign films were Downfall (German), A Very Long Engagement (French) and Kung Fu Hustle (Cantonese).
The report showed the market share of British films at the US box office was 16 per cent, up from 11 per cent in 2004. The UK Film Council Statistical Yearbook 2005 showed box office revenue in Britain was 770 million pounds, steady on 2004 figures but up 87 per cent against the level in 1996. Films were judged to be British if they were shot in this country, involved British actors or technicians and spent money in the UK or on British staff and services.