What Are the Most Popular Films That the Lottery Has Funded?

What Are the Most Popular Films That the Lottery Has Funded?

Have you ever heard of the BFI film fund? If you live in the UK, you’re probably familiar with the concept. We have an explanation for everyone else.

In its 25 years of existence, the UK National Lottery has funded the creation of over 500 films through BFI. As you probably know, national lotteries dedicate some of the money generated through tickets sales to good causes. In the UK, the film industry is one of the recipients.

Since 1994, the lottery has distributed more than 565,000 grants to good causes, including film creation.

Over the years, the share of lottery funds dedicated to film creation has increased. In 2014, the sum had already reached 43 million pounds from the previous annual amount of 27 million pounds.

A logical question arises from this information – what are some of the popular films that the lottery has funded? We’re glad that you’ve asked. Here are some of the movies that you’ve probably watched already without knowing that the UK National Lottery contributed to their creation.

The King’s Speech

The King’s Speech from 2010 won four Academy Awards, some of them in prestigious categories like best picture, best actor for Colin Firth, best director for Tom Hooper and best original screenplay.

A fun and emotional historical drama, The King’s Speech is based on the actual friendship between King George VI and his speech and language therapist Lionel Logue.

The UK film council invested approximately one million pounds in the movie. This means that it has a net profit position of roughly 34 percent of all the revenue the film generates over its course of existence.

Before Oscar’s week, The King’s Speech had already made 235 million dollars at the box office worldwide.

According to a BFI announcement, the money won from the participation in The Kings Speech was to be reinvested in the creation of other quality British movies.

Bend It Like Beckham

Released back in 2002, Bend It Like Beckham is classified as a family romantic comedy that focuses on sports topics (obviously!).

Starring Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Gurinder Chadha, Parminder Nagra, and others. The movie follows the life of an 18-year-old girl who’s fascinated with football but who doesn’t have her parents’ permission to play because she is a girl.

In the UK, the film grossed approximately 11 million pounds in the box office. These numbers turned it into one of the highest-grossing Black/Asian-themed British films. The success in the UK was similar since there; the film grossed 32.5 million dollars in the box office. The results made it the highest-grossing Indian-themed film since the 1982 production of Gandhi.


This movie from 2003 became the highest repaying film out of all in the lottery’s portfolio. Intermission repaid 791,803 pounds to the lottery film fund.

The Irish black comedy crime film is set in Dublin, and it is shot in documentary-like style. Several distinct stories are being told, making the premise somewhat unique.

Shortly after its release, Intermission showed its great promise. It earned 2.5 million pounds in the Irish box office, making it the most successful independent Irish film. Overall, Intermission earned 896,993 million dollars from the US box office and over 3.59 million dollars internationally. The production budget was only five million dollars, which contributed to the massive returns.

The UK National Lottery Cinema Day

Great Expectations

What would a British popular film list be without one of the classics?

The lottery fund invested over two million pounds in Great Expectations – a 2012 Charles Dickens classic recreation. This way, Great Expectations became one of the films to receive the largest grant ever from the lottery fund. It’s only surpassed by Under the Skin, which gained 2.170 million pounds.

The film stars Helena Bonham Carter, Jeremy Irvine, Ralph Fiennes, Robbie Coltrane and a whole host of other popular actors.

While critics agreed that the 2012 film wasn’t the best version of the Dickensian masterpiece, Great Expectations still saw a positive reception, and the audience predominantly liked it.

Girl with a Pearl Earring

This is another classic that the lottery invested in. This time, however, the classic doesn’t come from the world of literature but the painting domain.

Girl with the Pearl Earring was released in 2003and it starred Scarlett Johansson as the muse behind the famous creation of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer (played by Colin Firth).

Another highly successful film, Girl with a Pearl Earring made 31.4 million dollars worldwide. It gained 72 percent approval on Rotten Tomatoes; it was nominated for 10 British Academy Film Awards, three Academy Awards, and two Golden Globe Awards.

The film won several cinematography awards for the excellent work of Eduardo Serra.

Beautiful Creatures

The National Lottery Community Fund, another entity that provides financing to movies as a part of the lottery initiative, is behind the creation of Beautiful People from 2013.

Beautiful Creatures received a grant of two million pounds, making it one of the movies to benefit from the highest amount of lottery funding in the UK.

The romantic gothic fantasy film stars another impressive cohort of stars – Jeremy Irons, Emma Thompson, Alice Englert, Alden Ehrenreich, and others. Regardless of the fact and the serious budget, Beautiful Creatures was a box office failure, and it received mixed reviews from the critics.

On its opening weekend, Beautiful Creatures generated about 10.12 million dollars from the domestic box office. Just for comparison – the budget of the film was approximately 60 million dollars. Beautiful Creatures performed better internationally, and it grossed 40.6 million dollars. As of April 2013, it had generated 60.052 million dollars, which is a definite failure to bring in returns.

According to Variety Magazine, Beautiful Creatures was the biggest box office bomb of 2013. Ouch!

A Few Honorable Mentions

Through its existence, the lottery fun has provided the financial resources of numerous other interesting, noteworthy, and highly successful films.

Some other names worth mentioning as a part of our overview include 28 Days Later, Heartlands, Parole Officer, Final Curtain, Invisible Woman, Frank, and High Rise.

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