opinion column uk

Why are we so scared of making British blockbusters?

British-blockbusters-2013

British talent is global but funded abroad

You’ve heard of Daniel Craig, Pierce Brosnan, Sean Connery, Daniel Radcliffe, Colin Firth, Emma Watson and Judi Dench. You’ve seen them in films like ‘Skyfall’, ‘Mamma Mia!’, ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’, ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’ but at the end of the day, all these movies are made by American studios.

Why are we incapable of making our own blockbusters here in the UK? Who decided that we should only provide actors and crew to the world’s biggest studios but not have the ability to make our own 100% UK funded blockbusters? The world has admired British talent for decades. British actors appear in some of America’s biggest blockbusters. They are practically a required asset, but still we sit here, providing great service, without putting the money behind the talent.

I do understand that we are a “small island”. Cue the music, but, didn’t the British Empire control one fifth of the world’s population from here? I’m not suggesting that we should go back to colonial thinking to get our box office share in foreign markets enlarged, but what I am saying is, if we did that, why can’t we do this?

The Olympic ceremony opener cost £27 million. That was an absolute global success, and the UK’s media sector is thriving since that moment. Now that’s money well spent and it certainly drew international attention, put all our talent into the spotlight and put our industry on the map.

Currently, the BFI, backed with lottery money is spending £100 million a year on helping talent, and boosting the industry, financing films and so on, but to Americans, that’s the budget of one movie. So if we have such a robust industry here in the UK, with some of the world’s best facilities like Pinewood and Shepperton + fantastic locations, actors and post-production facilities, why are we not able to make high budget movies?

We have the ability right here to make them, but there doesn’t seem to be the appetite for it despite the incredible stories of history, and everything that could be shared, and sold internationally. After the 2012 Olympics, I thought there would be change in the air…but I guess we should be happy that major US studios are shooting here. That’s very welcome.

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