BOOM-TIME FOR BRITISH FILM INDUSTRY

MARGARET Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady, starring Meryl Streep (pictured) as the lead, helped push film studios owner Pinewood Shepperton to a 68 per cent rise in film revenue. The firm, in which Peel Holdings acquired a majority stake earlier this year, has seen such a surge in demand for movie studio space it has been forced to turn down less lucrative TV contracts. Pinewood, which will be 75-years-old next month, also played host to Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, starring Johnny Depp, and Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel Prometheus, pushing film revenues to £18.2m for the last six months, with TV revenues dipping slightly to £4.7m. Profits were flat at £1.5m. Pinewood’s Media Park arm saw its revenues rise 6.7 per cent to £3.2m.

Channel 4-backed comedy The Inbetweeners Movie has notched up one of the highest debut weekends of the year, taking £13.21m at the box office, according to Screen International. The mammoth box-office receipts make it the highest ever grossing opening for a UK comedy, knocking Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason off its perch. The film, which follows the four main characters (pictured) from the eponymous Channel 4 TV show on a post-exams holiday to Crete, knocked science-fiction film Rise Of The Planet of The Apes off the top spot. Producer Chris Young said: “We are thrilled that The Inbetweeners Movie is the biggest opening of all time for a UK comedy. We really want to thank all the cinema goers out there who have made the film such a huge success.”

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