Recent articles on the Film Data Blog

Each week I look at a different film industry topic, focusing on the data and statistics to reveal what's really going on.

Are movies getting longer?

It: Chapter Two is an unusual horror film because it’s almost three hours long.  This means it is longer than 99.78% of all horror films made over the past twenty years.

Earlier in the year Avengers: Endgame was one minute over the three-hour barrier and Martine Scorsese’s up-coming epic The Irishman is expected to be three and a half hours long (longer even than the Godfather: Part Two).

Is this reflecting a wider trend or are these films just a few headline-grabbing examples?

I thought I would investigate.

We’ll start will all movies made around the world over the past twenty years, and then zero in on the trends under the surface.

The average running time of all movies produced worldwide

Average running times fell during …

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How many independent films reach cinemas?

For many independent filmmakers, whether or not their film reaches the big screen means everything.  No matter the money to be made via television deals or the massive audiences possible with VOD, a theatrical release is where it’s at.

In a new piece of research for the American Film Market, Bruce Nash and I set out to discover how many films actually make it to cinemas.

We built a dataset of all United States-produced narrative (non-documentary) feature films which were shot in 2017 and looked at their distribution outcome.

What is a theatrical release?

Before we get into the details, we need to be a little bit careful about our definition of a “theatrical release”. For example, it isn’t really fair to compare a …

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How valuable is experience when producing movies?

In much of human life, we equate the length of time someone has been performing a task with their level of skill.  Businesses proudly state how long ago they were founded, a lawyer with “30 years’ experience” can charge more than one fresh out of college and ‘time served’ often denotes seniority.

But is this true of the film industry?

Put more directly, does the number of films a producer has made indicate how likely their next project is to succeed?

To answer this, I teamed up with Bruce Nash from The Numbers.  We focused on 2,911 narrative (i.e. non-documentary) feature films released (either theatrically, direct-to-video or VOD) between 1999 and 2018.  For each film, we have detailed estimates of their financial performance, …

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Are we experiencing a renaissance of music-based movies?

Over the past few weeks and months, we have seen an increase in press articles covering music–based feature films.

Only last week, The Guardian stated, “We are in an uncommonly busy period, if not a flat-out golden age“, the BBC declared that “2019 has been the year of the music film” and The Independent claimed that “we may be in for a new musical renaissance“.  (The Indie gets points for at least being cautious in their language when declaring the new dawn of dance).

This has led to a few readers contacting me to ask if this is true.

Are we in a boom of music-based movies, or are over-enthusiastic journalists turning a couple of movies into a trend?

Let’s zoom out and look …

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