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Cinema of the United Kingdom

Cinema of the United Kingdom
No. of screens 3,767 (2011)
 • Per capita 6.8 per 100,000 (2011)
Main distributors Warner Bros 18.2%
Paramount 16.3%
20th Century Fox 12.1%
Produced feature films (2011)
Fictional 239 (79.9%)
Animated 4 (1.3%)
Documentary 56 (18.7%)
Number of admissions (2011)
Total 171,600,000
 • Per capita 2.7 (2012)
Gross box office (2011)
Total £1.13 billion
National films £410 million (36.1%)

The United Kingdom has had a significant film industry for over a century. While film production reached an all-time high in 1936, the "golden age" of British cinema is usually thought to have occurred in the 1940s, during which the directors David Lean,Michael Powell, (with Emeric Pressburger) and Carol Reed produced their most highly acclaimed work. Many British actors have achieved international fame and critical success, including Maggie Smith, Michael Caine,Sean Connery and Kate Winslet. Some of the films with the largest ever box office returns have been made in the United Kingdom, including the second and third highest-grossing film series (Harry Potter and James Bond).

The identity of the British industry, and its relationship with the Cinema of the United States, has been the subject of debate. The history of film production in Britain has often been affected by attempts to compete with the American industry. The career of the producer Alexander Korda was marked by this objective, the Rank Organisation attempted to do so in the 1940s, and Goldcrest in the 1980s. Numerous British-born directors, including Alfred Hitchcock and Ridley Scott, and performers, such as Charlie Chaplin and Cary Grant, have achieved success primarily through their work in the United States.

In 2009 British films grossed around $2 billion worldwide and achieved a market share of around 7% globally and 17% in the United Kingdom. UK box-office takings totalled £1.1 billion in 2012, with 172.5 million admissions.