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.

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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How much of the UK film economy comes from abroad?

As we’ve previously discussed, the UK film economy is currently in bullish form.  One of the major reasons is the high levels of ‘Inward Investment’  i.e. films from other countries which are choosing to shoot in the UK.  

A few people have asked me to give an idea of just how much of the UK film economy comes from abroad.

How much of the UK film economy comes from aboard?

Productions funded by non-British sources have been growing significantly over the past decade. In 2016 they accounted for 85% of the money spent on film production in the UK, up from 67% in 2006.  This is thanks to the recent trend of the UK housing some of the world’s biggest films, such as all …

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How many editors does it take to edit a movie?

Recently, I’ve been covering topics that could be described as ‘inside baseball’, eg they are very technical or mainly for people deep within the film industry.  I don’t intend to stop doing this, but I also want to address questions I get from film fans and people who are just curious about how the industry works.  

Today’s question is just such a question.  Kevin emailed to ask:

I just re-watched Avatar and noticed that the film had three editors.  Is that normal?

I can’t answer about what’s normal (very little of what we do in the film industry can be described as normal!) but I can look at what’s typical.

How many editors typically edit a movie?

I built a dataset of all movies that …

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The cost of movie Prints and Advertising

Last week’s piece on the division of box office cinema has sparked a number of follow-up questions.  I will try to tackle the key questions in the coming weeks.  

First up – a number of filmmakers made the claim that distributors inflate the true cost of distributing a movie, in order to keep more of the income.   

It’s worth starting with a general note that I see no evidence of wide-spread false accounting. That’s not to say that there aren’t any instances of false cost inflation, but that the heart of this claim is a scepticism that it isn’t as expensive to put a movie into cinemas as distributors claim.  So today I will quickly run through the types of costs involved in …

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How is a cinema’s box office income distributed?

Today, I’m going to tackle a couple of related topics which seem to come up frequently in reader questions and comments – how is a cinema’s box office income distributed, and how much of it ends up with the filmmakers?

On the face of it, the first question seems simple: how is box office ticket income divided?  However, it has proved an ongoing controversy, with some filmmakers claiming that cinemas keep most of it and some cinema staff claiming that they hand almost all of it over to filmmakers.  I have heard people on both sides wax lyrical about how they have the raw end of the deal.  In order to answer the question, I have been speaking to a number of people …

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How big is the European Film Market?

The European Film Market is currently in full swing in chilly Berlin.  I have been contacted by a reader who asked how big the European Film Market (EFM) is, and how it compares with its American and French counterparts (i.e. the American Film Market and Cannes Marché du film).  

There are three major film markets in the year: EFM (held in February), Cannes (May) and the AFM (November).  Throughout the year there are other smaller and more specialised festivals but the EFM, Cannes and AFM are regarded as the ‘Big Three’.

Today, I’m focusing on the European Film Market, rather than the Berlin Film Festival.  Although the two events are heavily connected, they fundamentally serve different purposes.  Film festivals are primarily a way for …

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