Budget - £8 Million
Box Office - £414,211,549
Studio - See-Saw Films, UK Film Council
Distributer - Momentum Pictures
Directer - Tom Hooper
Producer - Iain Canning
Who stared in the film? - Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Guy Pearce, Helena Bonham-Carter
What makes a British Film?
Most people would define a film as ‘British’by referencing obvious cultural elements such as the setting in the UK or a focus on British people. A British film requires a predominantly British cast, a story line about some aspect of British life, past, present or future, or is based on the work of a British author. Recent examples of British films include 'Billy Elliott', which is the story of a boy in North East England, and 'Bend it Like Beckham', about a girl from West London, both portraying particular social issues.
How did the Kings Speech perform at the box office?
The UK's mainstream media doesn't usually pay much attention to the cinema box office, but in this case an exception has been made thanks to The King's Speech. The Kings speech exceeded many expectations, including that of its distributor Momentum Pictures, as it made £3.52m on its opening weekend, including previews of £227,000. The film has been described as 'A rousing true tale about an English monarch triumphing over adversity.' The Kings speech is one of the most successful British films in recent years and has succeeded other successful British films such as 'Slumdog Millionaire' (£1.83m), 'Calendar Girls' (£1.88m), 'Atonement' (£1.63m) and 'Pride and Prejudice' (£2.53m)
The Reception -
All in all The Kings Speech received extremely positive reviews by both critics as well as the public, and was nominated for a staggering 12 Oscars and 14 Baftas. The film has been described as 'a richly enjoyable, instantly absorbing true-life drama about the morganatic bromance between introverted stammerer King George VI and his exuberant Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue.' Both Firths and Bonham-Carters' performances have been described as an 'acting masterclass.' These comments and statistics quiet clearly suggest that The Kings Speech was highly popular and claimed somewhat magnificent reviews.
Production Issues -
The King's Speech is an excellent example of an indie film that can receive major global success without the help of a major Hollywood studio. See-Saw, a British/Australian company, financed and produced the film by making deals with key distribution partners - The Weinstein Company (USA) Momentum Pictures (UK) Transmission (Australia) and Alliance Film (Canada).
However, See-Saw were faced with a huge decision when Fox Searchlight showed an interest in The King's Speech, but they were adamant that they wanted worldwide rights to the film. This meant they would have to cut other partners See-Saw chose to turn down Fox Searchlight and keep the original partners to keep the control in their hands.
Origins and how the film became a Co-Production -
The King's Speech, the story of how King George VI overcame his stammer, was just a letterbox delivery away from never getting made. While preparing the project, the film's production team provoked one of the film's stars, Geoffrey Rush, by taking the unorthodox step of posting the movie script through his home letterbox in Melbourne, Australia. Rush's management wrote the filmmakers a furious email for their impertinence. Despite this, Rush accepted the role of Lionel Logue, the King's speech therapist. However, publicly, Rush claimed he was immediately intrigued by the script. "I live in a very leafy suburb in Melbourne, and this brown paper package was on my front doormat one day, and I thought, 'Oh, this is interesting', It was lying there like an orphan... The attached letter basically said, 'Excuse the invasion, and for not going through the protocol of your agent, but we're desperate for you to know that this script exists, because there is a wonderful role that we would love for you to consider.' So I read it.
The Finance -
Prescience saw the film's potential early on and became the key financier of the film. The Weinstein Company and Momentum Pictures were also large investors for the film. The UK Film Council gave See-Saw £1 million for the production. Together they created the budget of $15 million.
Distribution and Marketing -
The Kings Speech used posters as a form of advertisement, many of these posters featured large, bold text with simple messages, this technique was used to draw the viewer in. One poster, which features Geoffrey Rush, uses certain words from what appear to be positive reviews. The specific words used give off many British connotations and constantly link back to the monarchy. Words such as "Majestic" and "Exquisite" suggest that the Kings speech is a royal or grand type of film. The poster directly addresses the audience when it states the phrase "fills you with joy" which encourages the viewer to watch the film. Another form of poster was released also, this time featuring the King himself, Colin Firth. This poster appears to be much simpler than the one previously mentioned. It uses 'God Save The King'. The font and style is similar to the famous "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster which was first used in the late 1930's, the era in which the film is set. The poster also features important information and portrays the film's cast, release date and the companies which were involved; all are placed at the bottom. The large image and text are used to once again draw in the viewer. The images of the characters are close up shots which therefore make the viewer feel connected to the characters.
Two trailers were released to the public, the first was the UK version, the second the US one, although they feature similar clips the trailers differ slightly. The UK version follows Colin Firth's character more closely and convey his journey and struggle of over coming his stammer. The UK trailer also shows his family troubles and concerns about the war with Germany, therefore making the UK audiences form a personal relationship or bond with Firth's character before even watching the film. This may also have contributed to the films popularity.
However, the US trailer focuses more on Geoffrey Rush's character and how he helps him overcome his speech problems. In both they use famous London landmarks e.g. St Paul's and Tower Bridge, also landmarks that are linked to royalty e.g. the Queen Victoria memorial statue. The UK trailer uses a well known quote from Shakespeare "some men are born great, others have greatness thrust upon them" this adds to the sense of Britishness in the trailer. In the Us trailer Helen Bonham Carter's character calls her husband the King rather than the Duke of York which is what she says in the UK trailer. The word King might mean more and give an international audience more understanding of his importance if they did not understand the monarchy/nobility system.
The various posters, trailer and film's synopsis all play an important part in the marketing of the film. The posters were placed just about everywhere, on the sides of buses, billboards, bus stops etc. Posters are used to grab the audiences attention and having them everywhere means they are virtually unavoidable. This is a successful way of persuading the audience to go and watch the film. The trailer is used on a larger scale and can be viewed by millions on both TV and on the internet. The trailer allows the audience to see certain aspects of the film, this usually helps the audience decide if the film is right for them, and also persuades them even further to go and watch the film.
Synergy Marketing -
As well as the marketing techniques mentioned above, the kings speech also used synergy marketing to help advertise the film. The synergy aspect of the marketing came into the picture when See-Saw films combined with Bedlam productions, both companies were responsible for creating and producing the entire film. However, a problem occurred when both of these companies attempted to market the film. The British Board Of Film decided to classify the production as a 15, due to a particular scene in the film which uses excessive swearing. This came as a huge shock to to all as neither company wanted this, as only people aged 15 and above would be able to watch the film, meaning the possibility of a huge audience loss. Both companies were fearful of this as a lower audience at the films premier would reflect on the overall box office figure the film made. However, director Tom Hooper was furious with this decision and protested for a substantial amount of time until eventually, in January 2011 an agreement was confirmed, the film would now be given an age rating of 12A.