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FDA Yearbook reveals record UK cinema receipts in 2017 as animated titles lead the way

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Story by Jack Foley

CINEMA-goers helped the UK box office enjoy a record-breaking 2017 – the third in year in succession that receipts have increased.

Cinemas took £1.378 billion in 2017, which means that as a social experience, cinema-going is capable of withstanding the economic fluctuations that have bedevilled other consumer areas.

The most popular genre proved to be animated releases, with £207 million spent – about £1 in every £6 spent on cinema tickets all year. Despicable Me 3 led the way with £47,761,904 in receipts, with Sing and The Boss Baby not far behind in second and third.

However, more than a third (35.6%) of the year’s total box office was taken by action, adventure and sci-fi films.

The highest grossing film of the year was Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which took a whopping £73,180,813, followed by Disney’s Beauty & The Beast and Christopher Nolan’s wartime epic Dunkirk.

A total of six superhero films were released in 2017, contributing to 12% of the entire UK and Ireland box office. They all carried a 12A certificate apart from Logan, which was 15.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2 was the highest grossing of the superhero releases, hitting £41,000,237, with Thor: Ragnarok second with £31,050,192. Marvel ruled the roost, with Spider-Man: Homecoming coming third and Logan landing fourth with £23,866,461.

The struggling DC universe released two films – Wonder Woman and Justice League – but they had to settle for fifth and sixth respectively.

According to the FDA, cinema is estimated to reach 78% of the UK population – so 51.2 million people go to the cinema at least once during the year.

However, UK cinema audiences tend to skew upmarket (in the ABC1 social groups 83% of people go to the cinema) and young (91% of people aged 15-34 go to the cinema). Nevertheless, over the last decade, the UK cinema audience overall has aged in profile.

Around three quarters of a typical cinema audience are frequent cinema-goers (once a month or more). They tend to earn more than the average.