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.

What’s changed in the world of film festivals?

Just over a year ago I published a long piece about the huge changes we’ve witnessed in the film festival market over the past fifteen years.  It covered the emergence of online submission service Withoutabox, how the industry fell in love with Withoutabox, how it then fell out love thanks to poor service and monopolistic practices (due to their all-powerful patent) and finally the emergence of a rival, FilmFreeway.

If you’ve not read the piece then I recommend you do now as (a) it’s quite an entertaining, shocking story and (b) it will provide context for today’s article.

A year later, I thought I’d check in and see what’s changed.  I spoke to Withoutabox, FilmFreeway and senior people within major film festivals.  Throughout the article, I …

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Is Seed & Spark’s high crowdfunding success rate for real?

In our industry, it’s not uncommon to hear people making bold claims.  They declare that their film is going to make a fortune, that they will soon collect an Oscar and that their new start-up is better than anything else on the market.  

Normally I just ignore this hyperbole, but once in a while, I ask for proof.  Few people reply and even fewer can back up their claims.  Today’s article is about one company that can and did defend their bold claim.

Seed & Spark is a crowdfunding platform aimed at the film industry which claims to have “the highest success rate in the crowdfunding business”.  As regular readers will know, I have studied the world of film crowdfunding for a while, …

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How important is international box office to Hollywood?

Today I’m responding to an email I received from James, who asked how important international box office revenue is to Hollywood studios.  It’s a great question as it’s at the heart of one of the major trends affecting the film business in the 21st century. 

In film industry terminology, “domestic” box office revenue means the money collected in cinemas in the US and Canada, while money grossed in cinemas anywhere else in the world is classed as “international”. 

The growth of the international box office

I built a dataset of all movies released between 1990 and 2016 and looked at their domestic and international box office revenues.  Let’s start by focusing on how much of the money collected by movies from the big six studios came from …

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How many Cannes-nominated films get a theatrical release?

The Cannes Film Festival kicks off next week, and at the centre of all the glitz and glamour is competition for the film world’s greatest artistic prize – the Palme d’Or.  This year, nineteen films are in the running including work by Michael Haneke, Sofia Coppola, Todd Haynes and Michel Hazanavicius.  The films will be screened over the festival’s eleven days, following which a jury of luminaries, headed by Pedro Almodóvar, will decide which film is worthy of walking away with the Palme d’Or.  

But once the festival is over, what happens to the Cannes-nominated films?  In Cannes gone by, I have met filmmakers whose work was being admired in the festival and who excitedly talked about the “inevitable” and “huge” theatrical release awaiting …

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How much does it cost to exhibit at the Cannes Marché?

In just over two weeks, the Cannes Film Festival and Marché will open its doors, commencing twelve days of drinks, deals, dailies and daring new cinema (plus a fair amount of double-dealing, dehydration and depression). It’s the biggest date in the film industry’s annual calendar, both for celebrating the best new movies (via the festival) and negotiating distribution for movies of all levels of quality (in the film market).  

I have covered Cannes for a few years now, so there are a number of older articles which you may find interesting or useful.

  • Attending Cannes
    • Cannes film festival mysteries explained (via Nicolas Cage)
    • Ultimate tips for attending the Cannes Film Festival
    • Will it rain at the Cannes Film Festival?
    • What types of films win the Palme d’Or at Cannes?
    • How …
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The numbers behind Netflix Original movies and TV shows

In last week’s article, I looked at the claim that mid-budget dramas are not being made anymore.  Although the conclusion was that this is a myth, there was strong evidence to show that they are being squeezed, resulting in ever-decreasing budgets.  

One reason often given for the tougher market for traditional movies is the rise of Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) platforms and the content they commission. 

The largest and most successful SVOD service is Netflix so I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the types of content they are commissioning, under their ‘Netflix Original’ banner.  Let’s look at the movies first.

Netflix Original movies

At the time of writing, there are 60 Netflix Original movies available to watch. 

Quality of Netflix Original movies

In …

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Has the mid-budget drama disappeared?

In a recent interview with the Metro newspaper, Matt Damon discussed the changing nature of Hollywood budgets and specifically the decline of mid-budget dramas.  Or as the Metro headline put it “Jason Bourne star Matt Damon explains why you’re seeing less indie movies in cinemas“.  

Let’s ignore the journalist’s poor grammar and focus on the point Mr Damon was making.  His assertion was:

The $15 to $60 million drama, is gone. They just don’t make that movie any more.

 It’s an interesting claim, so I thought I’d look into the topic.

Have all mid-budget drama movies gone?

Let’s start by looking at the data.  I built a dataset of all movies which grossed at least one dollar in US cinemas over the past twenty years (1997 to …

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WGA Writers’ Strike 2017: The numbers behind the demands

You may have heard rumblings in the press about a possible upcoming writers’ strike in Hollywood, and a few readers have been in touch to ask about the debate.  

In today’s article, I will look at some of the key numbers that lie at the heart of the disagreement between the writers and the studios. 

I am going to avoid taking sides in this piece as my aim is to provide useful data for the debate, rather than to argue for one view or another. If I’ve missed anything, or if you want to add your thoughts on the topic, please do so in comments at the bottom of the page. Topics like this can arouse strong feelings on both sides, so I …

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How important is the UK theatrical market to British films?

Last month, I gave my annual lecture at the National Film and Television School (NFTS), looking at the business side of the UK film industry. It’s an enjoyable lecture to give, in part because the audience is made up from across all the disciplines (so animators, cinematographers, directors, producers, production managers, etc).  This mix often results in a wide variety of questions and this time there was a question I promised to explore further in a blog article.  

The query was sparked by a section of my talk which showed that the majority of the box office income collected by most British films is collected in the UK.  This surprised some attendees as the film industry is normally viewed by professionals as …

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In-flight movies: What Air Canada and Virgin Atlantic show

An often-forgotten window of release is the ‘Airline’ slot, where movies play on in-flight entertainment systems soon after their initial theatrical release.  

This is an area I’ve long wanted to study, but finding the raw data has proven tricky.  However, over the past few months, I have been doing my best to collect copies of in-flight movie guides (physical and digital) and I think I now have a large enough collection for two airlines (Air Canada and Virgin Atlantic) to be able to share the findings.

I should note that this is not designed as a heads-up battle between these airlines.  I would like to have included other carriers but these are the only two for which I have a complete …

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