U.K.2021 Box Office Top 10 Revealed Leads: “No Time to Die”

Total box office revenues in the U.K. and Ireland in 2021 rose 85% to £596.9 million ($811.1 million) from 2020’s total of £323.2 million ($439.3 million), according to the annual box office review released by Comscore. However, these numbers remain far below pre-pandemic levels when annual box office exceeded £1.3 billion in each of the five years up to 2019.

Cinemas were closed for 19 weeks in 2021, but they were allowed to reopen on May 17. Unlike 2020, which saw repeated closures, 2021 didn’t see any enforced closures after reopening.

According to the report, 497 new titles were released at cinemas in 2021 compared with 444 in 2020. If you only look at the time that cinemas were open, 2021 saw 20% less titles released in mid-May through December than 2019. 2019 had 625 titles in the same period. Comscore predicts that 2022 will return to the volume of 2019, which reached its peak in 2019 with 938 new titles.

2020 saw 31 drive-in cinemas open. These eight sites remained open and were joined in 2021 by six new openings. These 14 drive-ins contributed over £1 million to the box office in 2021, down from £1.6 million in 2020.

While final 2021 admission numbers are not yet available, Comscore expects the U.K. total to be around 74 million and some six million in Ireland, almost 70% up from 2020’s total admissions of 47.6 million for the U.K. and Ireland combined, which represented a steep fall from 2019’s total of 191.1 million.

The year’s box office was led by James Bond film “No Time to Die,”Which is the number. 3 film of all time with £96.5 million, behind “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (£123.2 million) and “Skyfall” (£103.2 million). December release “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which is still in cinemas, is no.10 in the all-time chart with £74.8 million and is expected to overtake 2019’s “The Lion King” (£76 million) and will then challenge Titanic (£80.2 million) for eighth position.

Universal was the top distributor in 2021, taking £180.8 million — 30.3% of the total market — from 25 new releases and 27 pre-2021 releases. The performance was led by “No Time To Die,”Other films contributed nearly half of their total, “Fast & Furious 9,” “The Addams Family 2,” “The Croods 2: A New Age” “House Of Gucci.”Sony and Disney had respective 21.9% & 21.0% shares. Paramount (3.6%) and Warner Bros (14.2%) are the other top distributors.

Phil Clapp, chief executive at the U.K. Cinema Association, stated: “While the challenges presented to the sector by COVID during 2021 were still all too apparent, the extraordinarily positive public response to the return of cinema going in the second half of the year, and in particular their recognition of the huge efforts made by cinema operators to ensure the continuing safety and comfort of audiences and team members alike, augur extremely well for a strong and continued recovery in 2022 and beyond.”

Andy Leyshon, CEO at the Film Distributors’ Association, added: “Once cinemas were permitted to reopen their doors, it was heartening to see audiences return in good numbers and cinema going reaffirm its position as the nation’s favorite out-of-home entertainment choice. 2021 delivered some terrific titles and stellar big screen successes, and in 2022 the recovery story is set to continue with an even more diverse slate of films and something on offer for every taste.”

Top 10 films from the U.K. & Ireland in 2021

1. “No Time To Die” (Universal): £96.5 million
2. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (Sony): £74.8 million – still on release
3. “Dune” (Warner Bros): £21.8 million
4. “Shang Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings” (Disney): £21.2 million
5. “Peter Rabbit 2” (Sony): £20.4 million
6. “Black Widow” (Disney): £18.8 million
7. “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” (Sony): £18 million
8. “Free Guy” (Disney): £16.8 million
9. “Fast & Furious 9” (Universal): £16.4 million
10. “Eternals” (Disney): £14.8 million

Top 10 British films to be shown in U.K. or Ireland in 2021

1. “No Time To Die” (Universal): £96.5 million
2. “The King’s Man” (Disney): £4.4 million – still on release
3. “Spencer” (STXfilms): £2.8 million
4. “People Just Do Nothing: Big In Japan” (Universal): £2.3 million
5. “Last Night In Soho” (Universal): £2.3 million
6. “The Father” (Lionsgate): £2.1 million
7. “The Courier” (Lionsgate): £2 million
8. “Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone” (20th Anniversary) (Warner Bros): £1.3 million
9. “The Night House” (Disney): £977,000
10. “A Boy Called Christmas” (Sky Cinema): £830,000

(Data from Jan 1, 2021 – Jan. 6 2022)

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