Skyfall was the highest-grossing film of all time at the British box office, earning nearly £103m, new figures released on Tuesday show.
The 23rd James Bond movie easily knocked James Cameron's 2009 movie Avatar off the top spot, according to the BFI's annual Statistical Yearbook, a 250-page report with a dizzying array of facts, tables, figures and charts.
The yearbook showed a British film industry in good health, with UK films taking $5.3bn (£3.45bn) at the global box office, representing 15% of the world market – down from 17% in 2011, but still the third highest on record. That figure was largely driven by films such as Skyfall and The Dark Knight Rises, which grossed not far behind the Bond movie at just under $1.1bn worldwide; but also by strong independent films, with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel taking an impressive $135m and The Woman in Black taking $128m.
It was announced earlier this month that Skyfall director Sam Mendes will return to the franchise for the next outing of Bond.
The BFI's chief executive, Amanda Nevill, said "UK films captivated audiences" and that the Mendes-directed Bond movie "led something of an invasion into global cinemas in 2012". She added: "Our yearbook shows film's continued importance to the UK economy overall, with a record turnover of £7.7bn and trade surplus of £1bn in 2011."
A trend for cinema audiences to be older is also revealed in the yearbook. For the first time ever, over-45s made up the largest proportion of the cinema audience, up from 28% to 36%. The report says it is largely down to the greater number of films targeted at older audiences. In 2012 that included films ranging from Salmon Fishing in the Yemen through The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel to Anna Karenina. There was also a rise in 2011, when The King's Speech was out, and in 2008, when Mamma Mia! was released.
Younger audiences, aged 15-24, fell from 31% of the total to 25%, although the BFI stressed that "more data and research" was needed to better understand what was going on.
The report says that 249 feature films were produced wholly or in part in the UK, down from 331 in 2011, while the total value of production spend was significantly down to £929m from £1.2bn.
The yearbook was released on the same day that the Toronto film festival released its slate for this year, with a strikingly strong selection of British talent heading there.
It will include the world premiere of Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender; The Double, directed by Richard Ayoade, funded by Film4/BFI and starring Jesse Eisenberg; Justin Chadwick's Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom starring Idris Elba; Joel Hopkins's Love Punch, with Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson; and The Railway Man, based on the bestselling autobiography by Eric Lomax and starring Colin Firth. The festival will open with the Julian Assange film The Fifth Estate, with Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role.
Highest grossing films at the UK box office in 2012
1 Skyfall £102.8m
2 The Dark Knight Rises £56.3m
3 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey £52.2m
4 Marvel Avengers Assemble £51.9m
5 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (Part 2) £35.8m
6 Ted £30.4m
7 Ice Age 4: Continental Drift £30.3m
8 Life of Pi £28.7m
9 The Amazing Spider-Man £26m
10 Prometheus £24.8m
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