At the beginning of 2012 David Cameron made comments concerning the British film industry: “Our role should be to support the sector in becoming even more dynamic and entrepreneurial, helping UK producers to make commercially successful pictures that rival the quality and impact of the best international productions,” -David Cameron quoted in the Daily Telegraph.
The critical and commercial success of ‘The Kings Speech’ at the Bafta’s and Oscars seemed to be the catalyst for these statements by the British Prime Minister. Although this film was a traditional British film in many ways in terms of its subject matter, cast members, narrative and style. Its success with critics as well as box office takings is not a typical event for a british film. Its film industry is highly regarded by the rest of the world for its inteligent scriptwriting, creative cinematography, the depth of its characters, the brilliant actors and most notibly its comments on society within each film. However, there is a sacrafice made with making films with such a formula and this is the box office takings. As such films only attract a select group of people to the cinema (mainly middle aged and middle class) the proffit made from each success is very limited. In a industry that relies on the economical success of one film out of 10-20 to fund the rest of the projects, a limited return on this one success is a problem. At least it is a problem according to David Cameron who feels funding should be put towards projects that can be potentially gross highly at the box office and not just in a review from The guardian newspaper.
As lottery funding is used for make many of these projects he has the direct power to make this a reality however as the producers in Hollywood would tell you, you cannot guarentee a box office success. The best you can do is take precautions to ensure this is not a likely event, however its is still very probable. Even the largest production companies in the world can still make films that are failures financially, recent examples this year include Disney with the release of ‘John Carter’ which to date has lost 80 million dollars globally.
Therefore what would David Cameron like to turn the british film industry into? possibly a smaller version of the north american mainstream film market. That focuses on style over subtance, where financial gain is guarenteed through ways such as product placement for large corporations and action over story line. Such a change would not only ruin the reputation of the British film industries globally but also jeopardize the 4 billion return that the industry has at present. There is also no guarentee that trying to re-create the formula of a Michael Bay film will create a large return on every film, as in business it pays to be different. Making something that is already available and popular on a much smaller scale, does not work historically in business.
However maybe what David Cameron is trying to say is that we could learn from such films as ‘Tranformers’ and not necessarily re-create this but be influenced by it. This is an interesting idea as it may benefit the film industry in not just a financial return but it could steer the films away from just the middle age and middle class market, where every film made is a comment of class. Something that has recently become stale and uninspired to audiences globally.