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 many short films are made each year?

Short films are a medium close to my heart.

They provide emerging filmmakers with an opportunity to practice their craft, explore their ideas, meet peers and showcase their abilities to audiences and the industry.  There’s nothing quite like watching a festival programme of shorts and being transported to a different vision of reality every ten minutes or so.

But they are poorly tracked by researchers and industry watchers.  The nature of short films makes them hard to quantify and there is rarely a commercial drive to invest the time needed to dig deeper.  To go a small way to redress this oversight, I have sought to get a sense of the scale of short filmmaking.

How many short films are made each year?

This …

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How often are women hired in key film departments?

In the most recent issue of The Hollywood Reporter, they covered the efforts being made to increase the representation of women in below-the-line roles.

As part of this coverage, I was asked to crunch the data on the number of women working in specific film departments.

So I built a dataset of all feature films released in US cinemas over the past twenty years and sought to calculate the representation of women in below-the-line roles.  There is much more about my methodology in the Notes section at the end of this piece.

The big picture

Let’s start by looking at the big picture for films released in 2018 and then focus in on a few of the departments over time.

Of the fifteen departments I …

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How wide was the theatrical release of ‘The Irishman’?

Martin Scorsese’s new film The Irishman has been ruffling feathers throughout the film industry.  Most notably for its unusual release pattern.

The film was funded by streaming giant Netflix, meaning that it was available on SVOD just 19 days after it first hit cinema screens.

This is a highly unusual ‘collapsing of the theatrical window’.  A film of this size and scope would be expected to have at least four months between first appearing on the big screen and then going into consumer homes (it’s three months in North America).

This has led the Big Three cinema chains in the UK, Vue, Odeon and Cineworld (which also owns Picturehouse), refusing to screen the film.  The Irishman opened on 8th November on the screens …

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After Die Hard, what’s the next most contentious “Christmas” movie?

Last year, I used a variety of data-led indicators to assess the claim that Die Hard is a Christmas movie.

If you don’t want any spoilers as to the result, stop reading this now and head on over to that article.

I used three categories of indicators through which a movie’s “Christmasness” could be judged – artistic, commercial and cultural. The first considers what’s in the movie, the second how it’s sold and the third how it’s perceived.

As time moves on, it’s the final of those three which becomes most crucial.  The artistic nature of the film remains static (well, unless George Lucas gets to it) and the commercial lens is not very reliable, given movie marketers’ penchant for pushing literally anything …

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