UK books power world's top-grossing films

UK books power world's top-grossing films

Adaptations of novels by British authors make up 40% of the 20 top-grossing films worldwide since 2001.

A report in the British Film Institute’s statistical yearbook shows that between 2001-13, eight out of 20 of the world’s biggest film releases were based on novels by UK authors.

A further 32 of the world’s top 200 grossing films in the last 13 years found their inspiration from UK-originated story material which collectively earned $23.3bn  (£14.9bn) at the global box office – a feat only bettered by US story material, the report shows.

“The global box office performance of UK films and foreign productions which draw on UK source material is a good indicator of the international impact and exposure of British culture,” the BFI said.

The novels which have gone onto be big blockbuster films around the world include four novels based on the Harry Potter series by J K Rowling - "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" which took in gross $1,328m, "Philosopher’s Stone", which raised $974m, "Deathly Hallows: Part 1" which saw cinema goers spend $955m on tickets, and "The Order of the Phoenix", which raised $939m (all Warner Bros) in revenues.
Others include James Bond movie "Skyfall", based on the novel by Ian Fleming, which took in $1,108m at the box office (MGM, Sony, Columbia), "Alice in Wonderland", based on the novel by Lewis Carroll (Walt Disney), which took in $1,024m, and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (New Line) and "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" (Warner Bros), based on novels by J R R Tolkien. Of the top 20 films derived from UK based authors in the last 13 years, 18 are adaptations of novels, one is based on a successful stage production and one is from an original screenplay.

Other than novels from Rowling, Tolkien, Fleming and Carroll, C S Lewis’s "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" took $745m (Warner Bros) and "The War of the Worlds" by H G Wells took $596m (Paramount).

The report also shows that nearly two thirds of the top 200 films released worldwide since 2001 have featured UK actors in lead or prominent supporting roles and UK directors were behind 26 of the 200 biggest films of the last 13 years with Harry Potter director, David Yates, topping the box office league.

UK films and talent won 26 major film awards in 2013/14, including six Oscars and 13 BAFTAs. Steve McQueen’s "12 Years a Slave" won the best film award at both ceremonies.

Richard Mollet, chief executive of the Publishers Association, commented: "UK publishing continues to be not only a hugely innovative and successful creative industry in its own right but also an industry capable of driving enormous creative success in other sectors and inspiring audiences around the world.”