How many films are based on Shakespeare plays?

This week I haven’t had a great deal of time to produce in-depth research so here instead is something a bit lighter than my normal fare.

I took a look at the number of feature film adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays. In summary…

  • There are 525 films which give Shakespeare some sort of writing credit
  • Of those, 294 are full adaptations of Shakespeare plays
  • Hamlet is the most often adapted Shakespeare play
  • Over half of all Shakespeare feature film adaptations are based on Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth or Othello.

Which Shakespeare plays are most frequently adapted?

In total, there are 525 feature films which give William Shakespeare some form of writing credit.  Looking in more detail at these films I found 294 films which are full feature film adaptations of Shakespeare plays.

What counts as an adaptation?

Even the simplest statistical exercise, such as this, ends up presenting tough choices. In this case I had to decide what counted as an adaptation. I included direct adaptations (such as Romeo + Juliet) and more liberal adaptations (such as 10 Things I Hate About You and West Side Story which were based on Taming of the Shrew and Romeo and Juliet).  I excluded films which didn’t directly credit the original screenplay story to Shakespeare (such as The Lion King, which is loosely based on Hamlet) and films which included elements of Shakespeare’s writing such as sonnets and lyrics.

Films that fail the Bechdel Test are better than those that pass

I should start this article with a personal note – I don’t like what I’ve found. I always try to approach data impartially and not look for certain results. Inevitably, this sometimes leads to results which challenge my beliefs or my opinions.  I am a firm believer that the representation of women on screen is often woefully poor and needs addressing.

Last week the guys at FiveThirtyEight published a great analysis of the box office performance of films which pass the Bechdel Test. My first thought was ‘damn’ as I have also been working on a similar study. They have been extremely thorough and it’s well worth reading their article. In order to avoid repeating their work I have shifted my research to look at how good the films that pass the Bechdel test are.

First, a quick primer for those who don’t know what the Bechdel Test is. It was suggested in 1985 by Alison Bechdel in her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. A film passes the Bechdel Test if it features…

  1. …at least two named female characters…
  2. …who talk to each other…
  3. …about something other than a man.

Using data from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and bechdeltest.com I studied 4,983 films made in the past 120 years.

In summary…

  • Films which fail the Bechdel Test get higher ratings from both audiences and film critics.
  • Films which fail all three criteria of the Bechdel Test (i.e. fewer than two named female characters) get the highest ratings

The results

By all four measures, films that fail the Bechdel Test score higher than those that pass.

Read more »

Which script adaptations make the best films?

adapation-posterToday’s article is a mash-up of two topics I’ve previously covered. Last month, I published research into the source of Hollywood screenplays (i.e. adaptations) and last week I investigated how audiences and critics rate films. So, it seemed only natural to put these two topics together and look at how critics and audiences rate films that come from different screenplay sources.

I looked at the top 100 grossing films of each of the past 20 years (giving me 2,000 films to study) to calculate the average ratings given by IMDb users and the Metascore (i.e. film critics).

In summary…

  • Screenplays based on true life events make the highest rated films
  • Films with original screenplays receive lower than average ratings
  • Critics and audiences both feel that video games make the worst films
  • Men and women’s opinions differ most about films based on plays
  • Surprisingly, audiences of different age groups do not have different tastes when it comes to screenplay sources
  • On average, sequels are worse than original films

Truth is Better Than Fiction

Screenplays based on real life events, factual books and factual articles receive the highest ratings by both critics and audiences. Video game adaptations receive the lowest scores.

Read more »

Do film critics and film audiences agree?

I’ve always wondered if film critics are biased towards certain types of movies, so I thought I would take a look at what the data can tell us.

I looked that the 100 highest grossing films from each of the past 20 years, which gave me 2,000 films to study. I then cross referenced data from IMDb’s user votes, Rotten Tomatoes’ audience percentage, Metacritic’s Metascore and Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer.

In summary…

  • Critics and audiences do rate films differently
  • Critics are tougher and give a broader range of scores
  • Critics and audiences disagree most on horror, romantic comedies and thrillers.
  • Audiences and critics gave the highest ratings to films that were distributed by Focus Features.
  • Critics really do not like films distributed by Screen Gems
  • The Shawshank Redemption is the highest rated film in every audience demographic
  • Critics rated 124 other films higher than The Shawshank Redemption
  • Female audience members tend to give films higher scores then male audiences
  • Older audience members give films much lower ratings than younger audiences
  • Rotten Tomatoes seems to have a higher proportion of women voting than IMDb’s 1 in 5 ratio of women to men.
  • IMDb seems to be staffed by men aged between 18 to 29 who dislike Black Comedies and love the 1995 classic ‘Showgirls’.

Do critics and audiences rate in a similar way?

No. Critics’ and audiences’ voting patterns differ in two significant ways.

Firstly, critics give harsher judgements than audience members. Across all films in my sample, critics rated films an average of 10 points lower than audiences.

Secondly, critics also give a wider spread of ratings than audiences. On IMDb, half of all films were rated between 5.7 and 7.0 (out of 10) whereas half of all films on Metacritic were rated between 41 and 65 (out of 100).

This pattern was repeated on Rotten Tomatoes. Unlike IMDb and Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes measures the number of people/ critics who give the film a positive review. Half of all films received an audience rating of between 47% and 76%, compared with 28% and 73% by critics.

Read more »

How many producers does it take to make a film?

A few weeks ago I looked at how big each of the main departments are on a feature film. It was a very popular article and led to a bunch of questions from readers. Over the next few months, between other topics, I’ll see if I can address those questions. First up: producers.

I looked at the producer credits on the highest grossing 100 films of each of the past 20 years, giving me a pool of 2,000 films to study. In summary…

  • In 1994, there were an average of 5.8 producers credited per film. By 2013, that grew to 10.
  • The number of executive producers has doubled since 1994.
  • Warner and Disney films have more ‘executive producers’ than standard ‘producers’.
  • Major independent films tend to have more executive producers than Hollywood films.
  • The number of associate producer credits has barely changed in 20 years.
  • Larger films don’t have more producers than smaller films.

The Ten Commanders…

In 2013, the average film had 10.1 producers in total. That’s 3.2 producers, 4.4 executive producers, 1.2 co-producers, 0.8 associate producers and 0.5 other types of producer. This is almost double the number involved with films made in 1994 (5.8 per film).

Read more »

Where does film financing come from? 2014 Survey

This is the final of ten articles revealing the results of my survey of 1,235 film industry professionals.  The other nine articles are here at stephenfollows.com/research. More details of the survey and my methodology can be found here and for any questions or clarification please contact me.

If you would like to read the full survey results right now then sign up for my email mailing list.  I’ll send you the full 25 page PDF report entirely free.

You’ll also get updates on my weekly blog articles on film data and statistics. I won’t send you any spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Key Findings – Distribution Fees

  • 27% of film financing came from private finance / high net worth individuals
  • Government grants and tax incentives combined account for 21% of film funding

Where does film financing come from?

Read more »

When will Video on Demand ever pay like DVD? 2014 Survey

This is the penultimate article of ten  revealing the results of my survey of 1,235 film industry professionals.  The other nine articles are here at stephenfollows.com/research. More details of the survey and my methodology can be found here and for any questions or clarification please contact me.

If you would like to read the full survey results right now then sign up for my email mailing list.  I’ll send you the full 25 page PDF report entirely free.

You’ll also get updates on my weekly blog articles on film data and statistics. I won’t send you any spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Key Findings – Video on Demand

  • 61% of respondents thought that within 4 years the income from new revenue sources, such as iTunes and Video on Demand will match the revenue earned by DVD at its peak.
  • Those who work in Sales, Distribution and Exhibition are the most pessimistic about the income from new sources.
  • 48% of those who work in Sales & Distribution feel it will take more than 4 years to reach the revenue levels of DVD at its peak, if ever.

Do film professionals think film is a sensible investment?

I asked my respondents “Do you think that new revenue streams (such as iTunes, Video on Demand, etc) will match the level of revenue DVD used to generate at its peak?”.

Read more »

How optimistic is the film industry about the future?

This is the eight of ten articles revealing the results of my survey of 1,235 film industry professionals.  The other nine articles are here at stephenfollows.com/research. More details of the survey and my methodology can be found here and for any questions or clarification please contact me.

If you would like to read the full survey results right now then sign up for my email mailing list.  I’ll send you the full 25 page PDF report entirely free.

You’ll also get updates on my weekly blog articles on film data and statistics. I won’t send you any spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Key Findings – Optimism in the film industry

  • 65% of the respondents think that business will be better in 2014 than 2013.
  • Only 9% feel that 2014 will be worse than 2013.
  • The most optimistic sectors are Development and Post-Production.
  • The most pessimistic sectors are Sales & Distribution and Exhibition.
  • There was almost no difference in the level of optimism across budget ranges

How optimistic is the industry about the future?

Read more »

Page 1 of 1412345...10...Last »