April 9, 2018

Disney has spent a huge amount on making Marvel movies in the UK

By Jack Rear

As Marvel approaches the culmination of years of movies with The Avengers: Infinity War, UK production figures show just how much the studio has spent on filming in the UK over the years.

Despite lacking a single signature superhuman, the UK is becoming a real hero hotspot thanks to Marvel’s investment.

Accounts show that since the advent of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Disney-owned production studio has paid more than £1.3 billion (around $1.83 billion) on making films in the UK.

This includes filming, staff, services, and post-production elements done in the UK.

Marvel’s affinity for the UK stretches all the way back to 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger. Therein, Manchester’s Northern Quarter stood in for 1940s New York City.

Since then Britain has appeared in Marvel movies a number of times.

London’s Greenwich University was the site of Thor: The Dark World’s climactic final battle, Royal Holloway University in Surrey was spotted briefly in Avengers: Age Of Ultron, and there were numerous London-set scenes in the recent Black Panther film.

In fact, out of the 18 movies in the Marvel cinematic universe so far, seven were British productions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEbFBKNuUKc

The association looks to continue into the future. The upcoming cinematic universe-spanning crossover, Infinity War has shot in various UK locations including Durham and Glasgow.

For that film, accounts information shows that Marvel has spent around £248 million on the UK elements of the production.

Normally studios do not officially disclose production budgets. However, UK law insists that British productions file publicly-available accounts.

In the case of Infinity War, Assembled Productions III was the British production unit.

A recent study from the British Film Institute found that in 2017 alone £1.9 billion was spent on British film production.

Of that figure, £1.7 billion of investment came from foreign studios. That figure is 23% higher than in 2016, and the highest since the BFI began recording these figures in 1997.

Marvel’s parent company Disney will continue to film in Britain on other projects too.

All of the recent and upcoming Star Wars projects are filmed in the UK, as are upcoming live-action remakes of Disney cartoon favourites including Dumbo and Aladdin.

In addition, Disney is investing in post-production effects work in Britain. It recently opened a new London base for its premiere effects studio Industrial Light And Magic.

Despite many prominent British actors including Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Christopher Eccleston appearing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Britain is still not particularly well-represented as a nation of superheroes.

So far, the only major British character in Marvel’s universe is Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter who died in Captain America: Civil War.

However, reports suggest a TV series based on Marvel comics hero Captain Britain is in development.

And, in an interview with Hey U Guys, the Marvel boss said it was discussing integrating Captain Britain into the cinematic universe.

Marvel continues to dominate the box-office

Going into Infinity War, Marvel looks to be in a very strong position.

Its most recent runaway hit, Black Panther, made well over $361 million on its opening weekend. Considering its budget was around $200 million, that alone would have made it a huge success in Marvel’s books.

However, the domination of Black Panther has continued long after its release. As of 9 April, nearly two months after its release, Black Panther has delivered a worldwide box-office gross of $1.3 billion according to Box Office Mojo.

Without adjusting for inflation, that makes it the tenth highest grossing film ever.

In the US though, that success is even more pronounced.

So far in the US, the film has taken over $665 million at the box office. That makes it the third highest-grossing film ever at the American box office, behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($936.7 million) and Avatar ($760.5 million).

Black Panther‘s success means it has booted Titanic out of the top three for the first time. Black Panther made about $6 million more.

However, adjusted for inflation, Titanic still beats Black Panther, coming in 5th place overall, while the latter ends up 34th in the adjusted rankings.

Either way, it all looks good for Marvel as it heads towards its 10-years-in-the-making crossover movie Infinity War.

Infinity War opens worldwide on Friday 27 April. It will have to make over $1.5 billion worldwide to knock the first Avengers crossover movie off the top spot as highest grossing Marvel movie ever. If it can make over $2.8 billion worldwide it will become the highest grossing movie ever made.

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