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.

How many stunt performers work on a movie?

The film industry is full of under-appreciated people whose work doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.  Visual effects teams make movie stars look younger, body doubles make them look sexier and writers make them seem normal and likeable. But only one set of such heroes put their lives on the line in the course of their day jobs – stunt performers.

There has been a long-running campaign to get stunt performers recognised by the Oscars. Despite campaigning for over 25 years and gaining over 50,000 signatures, stunt performers haven’t yet managed to convince the Academy to add a stunt category.

Not only is their work under-recognised, it’s also often extremely dangerous. The past two months have brought us two tragic stunt accidents. Stuntman …

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How many films are released each year?

In an unusual moment of synchronicity this week, three unconnected people have contacted me to ask how many films are released in cinemas each year.  Each had different reasons for asking but all were working from the same basic hypothesis – that the number is increasing.  

In the past, I have looked at the number of feature films made (both in the UK and worldwide) but today we’re going to focus on the number of feature films released in cinemas to the paying public. This doesn’t include film festivals, private screenings or other types of content in cinemas, such as broadcasts of opera of theatre productions.

The first thing to note is that there is no one simple answer.  Firstly, we need …

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Measuring actors’ brands via facial recognition

Last week I shared my research into movie posters, in which I used facial recognition to track the emotions displayed on the faces of the lead actors. Today I thought I would follow another thread made possible by this method and look at the brands of some major Hollywood actors.  

When deciding what movie to watch, we as audience members don’t actually have much information to go on.  I know it can sometimes feel as if the studios are bombarding us with loads of trailers, clips and adverts but take a step back and look at what information they’re actually conveying.  In most cases, all of the ‘stuff’ they’re throwing at us is on the same theme and aiming to convey one simple message, …

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Using facial recognition to track emotions on movie posters

A few days ago, Disney revealed that they have developed AI technology which can read the faces of audiences to track how they are experiencing a movie, second by second. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise; Hollywood has long relied on test audiences to shape their movies and most modern smartphones have cameras which can locate and track human faces.  

Despite this, the reality that this is in current usage has become a big talking point in the industry.  Views vary from joy at being able to finally get reliable audience data to fear of how much this may embolden already-meddlesome studios to override the wishes of artists and auteurs.

Regardless of where you stand on the issue, it’s certainly an …

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