Star Wars and Beauty and the Beast help UK box office to record high

UK and Ireland box office takings hit a record in 2017 - the third year in a row they have reached a new peak.

Film fans spent £1.38bn on tickets last year, up 3.6% on 2016.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Beauty and the Beast were the year's most popular films, followed by Dunkirk, Despicable Me 3 and Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2.

Box office trackers ComScore said fans still wanted the cinema experience despite the popularity of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon.

ComScore executive director Lucy Jones said: "Audiences want the right content on the right platform.

"The latest box office figures confirm that audiences still feel that films are best enjoyed at the cinema with the biggest possible screen, the best sound, comfortable seats and the communal experience."

According to ScreenDaily, the number of tickets sold rose by around 1.4% last year.

About 170 million cinema tickets were sold - meaning the average ticket cost was about £8.

Top 10 films of 2017

1.       Star Wars: The Last Jedi - £73.1m

2.       Beauty And The Beast - £72.4m

3.       Dunkirk - £56.6m

4.       Despicable Me 3 - £47.8m

5.       Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2 - £41m

6.       Paddington 2 - £39.3m

7.       It - £32.3m

8.       Thor: Ragnarok - £31m

9.       Spider-Man: Homecoming - £30.4m

10.   La La Land - £30.4m

ComScore's year, for the purposes of counting box office takings, actually ran to 4 January 2018.

Beauty and the Beast was the top film in the calendar year up to 31 December - but The Last Jedi's takings in the first four days of January meant the Star Wars sequel was the top film in the final official tally.

Top 10 British films of 2017

1.       Dunkirk - £56.6m

2.       Paddington 2 - £39.3m

3.       Kingsman: The Golden Circle - £24.8m

4.       Murder On The Orient Express - £23.9m

5.       T2 Trainspotting - £17m

6.       Baby Driver - £13m

7.       Alien: Covenant - £12.9m

8.       Lion - £11.8m

9.       Victoria And Abdul - £10.1m

10.   The Death Of Stalin - £5.0m