Boyle was introduced Thursday as the artistic director of the ceremony to be held on July 27, 2012. The announcement was made in the shadow of the new 80,000-seat Olympic stadium in east London that will host both the opening and closing of the games.
Boyle won the best-director Academy Award in 2009 for "Slumdog Millionaire," a film that won a total of eight Oscars. His other films include "Trainspotting," ''28 Days Later" and "Sunshine."
"It's a fantastic responsibility," Boyle said. "When they offered us the job, they said, 'Do you want to think about it?' I said, 'No, I want to do it.'"
London will have a hard act in trying to top the extravagant opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which was designed by Chinese movie director Zhang Yimou and drew a worldwide television audience of 1 billion people.
"It's not going to be like Beijing in terms of this overwhelming scale," Boyle said.
London organizing committee chairman Sebastian Coe said the ceremony would focus on "what we need in London, which is a games for our times."
Coe said there were no plans to cut back on the $60 million budget for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics and Paralympics, despite Britain's severe financial situation.
"We haven't reduced the scope of what we're doing," he said.
As well as artistic entertainment, the opening ceremony will feature the parade of 10,000 athletes from 205 nations.