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.

How far in advance are movie release dates announced?

Earlier this month, Disney published release dates for their upcoming slate of movies, including their newly expanded roster of titles acquired when they bought rival studio Fox.

This included a domestic theatrical release date (i.e. when the movie will open in American and Canadian cinemas) for Avatar 5 of 17th December 2027.  Yup, the date has been fixed a whopping 3,144 days ahead of the actual release.

In many cases, the release date is literally the only piece of information revealed about an upcoming movie – even before the movie’s title.  Disney’s future release schedule currently contains dates for 29 “untitled” films, including:

  • Twelve movies called “United Disney Live Action”
  • Eight called “United Marvel”
  • Four “Untitled Pixar” (although only two of them are described as …
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Are video game movies the worst type of adaptations?

The recent release of Pokémon Detective Pikachu has prompted some readers to get in touch and ask about the quality of movies based on video games.

Most of the questions were variations of: “Are video game movies the worst type of movie adaptations?

To answer this, I looked at all movies released in US cinemas between 1993 and 2018, inclusive. (See the Note section for a more detailed explanation of the dataset and sources).

I’m going to use the Metacritic score and IMDb rating to serve as measures of quality from the perspective of film critics and film audiences, respectively.

Let’s first acquaint ourselves with the genre.

A primer in video game movies

The first movie adapted from a video game was 1993’s Super Mario Bros and in …

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Which actors most frequently appear in excellent / awful movies?

In a previous article, I have looked at the ‘brands’ of top actors by studying the genres they most frequently appear in.

Today, I am going to look at another facet of an actor’s brand: what their presence in a movie signals to the audience about the movie’s quality.

Quality is obviously a subjective term and so rather than trying to figure this out myself, I’m going to use two proxies:

  • Metascore, which is a weighted average of the ratings given by top film critics, as calculated by Metacritic.
  • IMDb audience rating, which is the score given by IMDb users.

I’ll be looking at both measures as these two constituencies – critics and audiences – don’t always agree.  Critics tend to favour high-brow, dramatic content …

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A data-led analysis on how to survive the Cannes Film Festival

The Cannes Film Festival and Market are just around the corner. It’s a mad mix of five-star movies, five-minute meetings and five-Euro bottles of water.

To help attendees get the most out of their trip, I have gone through my archives of Cannes research, and conducted some new research, to see what a data-led analysis can reveal.

I’ve boiled down the key points to just eight main takeaways, with links to explore each in more detail.

1. The opening weekend is the time to be there

Over the years, I have conducted numerous studies into when people attend top film festivals and the opening weekend always comes out on top.  This year that means the 18th and 19th of May.

In 2016, I interviewed 575 …

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