Recent articles on the Film Data Blog

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

Do Hollywood movies make a profit?

For the third part in my series on the financial side of the film industry, I am turning to profitability and asking “Do Hollywood movies make a profit?”

Hollywood has a negative reputation when it comes to transparency and financial openness. It feels as though each month brings yet another news story about a Hollywood flop losing millions or another lawsuit where people accuse studios of fiddling the figures to prevent having to pay out profit shares. 

So let’s take a detailed look at profitability among Hollywood movies.  I will be working with three datasets, each providing a unique perspective on the matter…

  • The ‘Insider’ dataset.  A collection of 279 films for which I have inside financial data, revealing the true costs and income for the life …
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    How films make money pt2: $30m-$100m movies

    Last week I took you through all the costs involved in making and releasing a Hollywood blockbuster (budgeted over $100m), and how they earn their income.  

    This week we’re sliding down the budget range and looking how films make money on a smaller scale, with a focus on movies budgeted between $30m and $100m.  Like last week, all of the recoupment data I’m discussing today comes from real financial figures gleaned from genuine Hollywood movies.  You can read more about the data sources in last week’s Epilogue.

    How films make money: Movies budgeted $30m to $100m

    Before we look at the financial data, we have to talk about the types of movies I’m referring to in today’s article.  Last week, I was able to …

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    How movies make money: $100m+ Hollywood blockbusters

    This is an article I have wanted to research and write for a long, long time. I finally had a moment to sit down and crunch the numbers – I hope it helps in the understanding of Hollywood economics.  It’s a lengthy one, so grab a cup of tea.

    Every six months or so, someone on my Facebook feed will share a list of “The Most Profitable Movies of All Time”.  These lists normally use the budget of the movie and the amount of money it collected in cinemas worldwide to conclude how much “profit” the movies made.  For example, “Paranormal Activity cost $15,000, grossed $193 million and so made a profit 1,286,566%“.  Another popular fallacy is that when a movie with a …

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    What does a post-Brexit UK film industry look like?

    Right now, the UK film industry is trying to understand what the UK leaving the EU (“Brexit”) means for its future.  A small number of things in a post-Brexit UK film industry are certain, but the vast majority are open to opinion, conjecture and downright guessing.  I don’t profess to have a magic method of seeing the future, nor am I necessarily any good at disentangling scare tactics from useful predictions. However, I am keen to move the debate to a more useful, practical phase where we as an industry can start making sense of this uncharted territory.

    So to help with this I have spent the last week talking to a number of people, running a survey of the industry and …

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