The Cultural and Economic Implications of UK/European Co-production

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Publication details

JournalTransnational Cinemas
DateE-pub ahead of print - 22 Dec 2015
Issue number1-2
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)1-20
Original languageEnglish


As research on transnational cinema makes clear, films do not easily coincide with national borders, but ‘link people or institutions across nations’. While Britain’s strongest transnational links are with the US, it has also developed production partnerships with its European neighbours. Each year, British film companies lead-produce about 15 co-productions with other Europeans. But why do British filmmakers work with European partners, and what are the implications of these partnerships for their film’s cultural identity and its box office performance? Through analysing a sample of recent UK/European co-productions, this article suggests most British film companies work with other Europeans for financial rather than creative reasons. At the same time, UK/European co-productions are more ‘culturally European’ than other categories of British film (i.e. domestic and inward investment features). While this does not necessarily boost their popularity with European audiences, the bigger budgets and better distribution links which co-production enables means UK/European co-productions on average perform better in Europe than UK domestic features. Co-production is therefore a useful strategy for getting British films made and circulated within Europe, though this strategy is also thwarted by a UK film policy orientated towards attracting higher value US inward investment features.

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