The Performance of European Films in the UK: Cultural Versus Industrial Factors

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper




ConferenceEuropean Communication Research and Education (ECREA) Conference
Conference date(s)13/11/1514/11/15
Internet address

Publication details

DatePublished - 13 Nov 2015
Original languageEnglish


Over the past decade several non-national European (NNE) films – including Volver (2006), The Lives of Others (2007) and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2010) – have performed remarkably well in UK cinemas, each generating over £2 million in ticket sales. However, when situated within the UK’s broader cinematic landscape, NNE films still account for only about 2% of the UK box office. Furthermore, their appeal tends to be limited towards a youngish, well-educated, urban-dwelling, professional middle-class audience with high levels of cultural capital. Drawing on the statistical analysis of a database of over 600 NNE theatrical releases in Britain over the last decade, this paper identifies and evaluates the key factors which affect the performance of NNE films in the UK. It pays particular attention to the impact of the EU’s MEDIA programme, which awarded £8.6m to UK distributors over the period 2007 to 2013 for the acquisition and distribution of NNE films. The paper provides important empirical insights for wider debates in films studies about the cultural and industrial factors which affect the transnational circulation of film. It also raises serious questions about the effectiveness of distribution support mechanisms.

    Research areas

  • European cinema

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