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.

Are audiences tiring of 3D movies?

Last week saw the release of Justice League, a film in which a brave, plucky band of CGI artists gallantly battle Henry Cavill’s moustache. The film is available to watch in either 2D or 3D, with most multiplexes offering audiences either option.  I opted to see it in 2D and very much regretted it (not the choice of 2D, the decision to see it at all).

I had a lot of time to think during the movie, so I started to wonder whether many other film fans would have made the same choice I did and picked the 2D version over the extra-dimensional 3D option.

Sadly the box office figures for Justice League 2D vs Justice League 3D are unlikely to be released so …

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How profitable are horror movies?

The horror genre is a perennial favourite among filmmakers.  The general perception is that they are fun to make, achievable on the lowest budgets and can earn a lot of money.

The final item on that list normally relies on the assumption that the horror movie in question has a chance to be the next Paranormal Activity or Blair Witch Project, both of which were ludicrously successful and therefore almost certainly highly profitable.

But what of the horror genre more widely?  For every runaway success, there are a whole host of flops and failures which make no money and are barely watched by anyone.  So with a list of all horror movies, let’s take a look at the average profitability.

This research is just one …

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What types of horror films do television broadcasters want?

When new filmmakers think about their movie reaching audiences, they tend to picture its cinema release, or maybe what it will look like when it hits DVD shelves. Few fantasise about their movie’s first ever television broadcast.

Despite this, television is the largest source of revenue for movies.  This means that the total amount paid by broadcasters to licence movies is greater than the amount filmmakers earn from the theatrical release (i.e. cinemas), greater than all the money earned via video on demand platforms (i.e. iTunes and Netflix) and greater even than Home Entertainment revenues (i.e. DVDs and Blu-Ray).

Even if it’s not possible to get the granular level of detail we are used to from cinemas, filmmakers should do all they can to …

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The handful of tropes used by most horror movie posters

How many times have you seen a new movie poster and thought ‘That looks just like the poster for [another movie]”?  I’m guessing… pretty often.

Movie poster designers don’t seem worried about their work feeling derivative and often they are actually counting on your sense of déjà vu to promote their new movie. So it’s not surprising that some movie posters end up looking similar to one another. Even with that in mind, I doubt most people are aware of just how little diversity there is within movies of the same genre.  Today, I’m going to share the patterns among horror movie posters.

This research was part of an eighteen-month project I conducted studying all aspects of horror movies. The final result is …

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Six things every filmmaker should know about the horror genre

Today I am publishing a project I have been working on for well over a year.  It is an extensive analysis of the horror genre, covering the entire journey from development through to recoupment.

If you want to read the full 200+ page report, then click the button below.  The report is published on a ‘Pay What You Can’ model, with a minimum of just £1.

Click here to get the Horror Report Pay What You Can model (min £1). Instant PDF download.

To celebrate the launch, I have pulled out six of the most important findings from the report.  These are things that all filmmakers should be aware of, even if they don’t make horror movies, because they reveal how our industry …

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Should UK broadcasters show more UK films?

Last Friday, the UK’s media regulator, Ofcom, instructed the BBC to increase the number of original UK television programmes it shows at peak-time.  Ofcom pointed to the BBC’s Royal Charter, which includes the duty for BBC output to be “distinctive, creative and [reflect] the UK’s diverse communities”. 

Based on new research, Ofcom said that original, UK-made programming is increasingly important to the UK population and so they have increased the BBC’s obligations towards new, UK-made content.

The Ofcom statement focused on television programmes, but it raises the question: what obligations should public service broadcasters have towards UK-made movies?

So I thought I’d take a look at how British films fare on British public service broadcast networks and ask if Ofcom should extend their new rules to …

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Three major ways movie release patterns are changing

Every few weeks, there is a news story about a new challenge to the traditional distribution model for movies.  The latest of these was the announcement last week that the new Shaft reboot would be using the hybrid release strategy. In the US, it will follow the usual movie release pattern (i.e. theatrical release followed by delayed release onto other platforms), but in the rest of the world, it will premiere on Netflix just two weeks after the US theatrical release. 

By using this innovative approach, the filmmakers were able to get Netflix to pay for “more than half” of the movie’s reported $30 million budget.

This news led me to wonder how movie release patterns are changing.  For today’s research, I built up several …

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The London Film Festival by numbers

The 61st annual London Film Festival kicks off this week, with a programme of 242 feature films from 67 countries around the world. 

So I thought I’d take a quick look at the festival and its films.

The London Film Festival by numbers

Last year, the London Film Festival screened to a total audience of 184,000 people, making it the UK’s largest film festival by a big margin. 

And it’s growing; the 2016 attendance figure is 70% higher than a decade ago.

Note: I could not find the figures for 2002 and 2005 but the festival did run.

Good value

One possible reason for this large attendance is that tickets compare favourably with average cinema ticket prices in London.  A few years ago, I looked at the average …

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Is a film’s length a sign of its quality?

A few months ago, Stuart Heritage wrote an article for the Guardian entitled “How to spot a bad film without even seeing it“.  It used the example of the Will Ferrell / Amy Poehler comedy The House to discuss his telltale signs that an upcoming film is worth avoiding. These included:

  • Embargoed reviews
  • Production rumours
  • Poster chicanery
  • Interviews about anything but the film
  • Sub-90-minute running time

The first on Stuart’s list – little to no early reviews – has already been covered well by Walt Hickey over at FiveThirtyEight.  In the article When Should You Buy Into A Movie’s Hype? he looked at the correlation between when movie reviews are released and the quality of the movie. Walt notes:

How early the reviews come in can tell us …

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The fate of Stephen King movie sequels

I am putting the finishing touches on a big report into horror movies, due for release in the coming months.  One of the many things I looked at was horror adaptations and so I thought it would be fun to share a small part of what I found as it’s become rather topical.

A new adaptation of Stephen King’s It is currently doing great business in cinemas worldwide, leading Warner Brothers to start work on a sequel, entitled Chapter One.  Details are still few and far between, but as the current film only adapted half of the original novel, the plot and characters are already common knowledge.

Excitement for the sequel is high, but the history of Stephen King adaptations contains an ominous warning.  

Let’s …

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