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 rom-coms shorter (and worse) than serious romance films?

Today’s topic was suggested by my wife (hello, honey!). For the longer story as to how this topic came up, see the epilogue at the end of the article.

For now, I’ll focus on what she suggested I research: Are romantic comedies shorter (and do they receive poorer reviews) than non-comedic romance movies?

I built a dataset of all movies which grossed at least $1 in US cinemas between 1980 and 2017 (13,159 movies) to try to discover the answer.

How romance compares to other genres

Let’s start by having a look at how the romance genre compares to other genres.  For each movie I gathered three pieces of information (where available):

  • Length, measured in minutes, from IMDb.
  • Metascore, which is the average score of all major critics, out of 100.
  • IMDb user …
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How big is the UK ‘event cinema’ market?

A frequently discussed shift in the film business over the past decade has been in the home entertainment sector, thanks to piracy and VOD.

However, there has been another big shift which is sometimes overlooked.  This one takes place in the exhibition sector, where we’ve seen a new type of movie-going experience emerge: event cinema.

Event cinema performances are a hybrid of traditional cinema (projected moving images on a cinema screen) and other elements (such as theatrics, live interaction or watching live events beamed from another part of the world).

It’s been a few years since I last covered this emerging sector, so I thought I’d return to see what’s changed.

Event cinema’s rise

It’s easy to see the appeal of event cinema, both to …

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Patterns among successful comedy movies

Today, I’m sharing my most recent collaboration with Bruce Nash for the American Film Market.

This time, we investigated the common factors behind successful comedies.

Who watches comedies?

To understand how to make a comedy successful, we first looked at who watches them. We used data from UK cinema audience surveys by Pearl and Dean from the past twenty years to compare comedy films to those of other genres.

Let’s start with gender. At 54%, comedy had the second-highest percentage of women in their audiences, when compared all major genres, behind only romance (which stood at 59%). The other basic demographic category is age. To analyse this, we sub-divided the audience data by MPAA certificate to see how audiences differ between types of comedy.

As …

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The sex, drugs and violence contained in MPAA ratings

In a month’s time, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of their rating system, and so it seemed an opportune moment to take a dive into the data behind MPAA ratings.

From 1968, a new voluntary code was established for movie certification in America, managed by the MPAA, along with the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) and the International Film Importers & Distributors of America (IFIDA).

The system has been tweaked a few times since its creation and was last updated in 1996 when the ratings were set as:

  • G: General Audiences – all ages admitted
  • PG: Parental Guidance Suggested – some material may not be suitable for children
  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned – some material may be inappropriate …
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