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.

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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What kinds of films do well at the BAFTA awards?

Next Sunday sees the glitz and glamour of the 70th annual British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) film awards, so I thought it was timely to look at the kind of films that have previously succeeded at the awards, and how BAFTA compares to other awards and major film festivals.  

I looked at all films nominated for one of the three main categories – best film, best British film and best foreign language film over the past twenty years.

What kinds of films compete for BAFTA awards?

I have previously reported on British filmmakers’ penchant for making dramas, with around a fifth of all British films made between 2001-13 having drama as one of their principal genres.  Therefore perhaps it’s not a surprise …

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The state of the UK film industry

The newspapers last week featured headlines like “UK film production break[s] records” and “Star Wars punches London film industry past light speed“.  This led to a number of people contacting me to ask if the overall message was true – is the UK film industry really doing as well as is being claimed?  

Most of the messages came from independent British filmmakers who were either sceptical at the claim that all was rosy in UK film, or who thought that the numbers were being cooked to make things look better than they are. 

The first thing to note is that I don’t doubt for a moment that the data is correct.  The BFI does a terrific job at collecting the raw data, …

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The social class of cinema audiences

In a passing comment in last week’s article on the effect of age on cinema-going, I mentioned that the same exit polls measured the social class of cinema audiences.  I asked readers to get in touch if you wanted me to share the data and a number of you did.  I don’t have a great deal of information on the topic, but what I do have is below.

The original exit poll data comes via cinema advertisers Pearl and Dean’s microsite which I matched up with UK box office figures and split by genre. In total, I was able to look at 662 movies released in UK cinemas between 2005 and 2016.   

The social class of cinema audiences

The polls use the class classification system developed by the …

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What films are older cinemagoers watching?

Following the trends article at the start of the year, I have been receiving requests for more details on some of the topics I covered.  One of the six trends I noted was the ageing cinema audience, which led to a number of people asking what types of movies older audiences turn out for. 

So today I’m going to show which movies are favoured by older audiences, who’s in them and the journey we take in our film choices as we age. 

Pop quiz, hot shot

Before I dig into the detail, I wanted to set you a little challenge.  Each year, the BFI’s Statistical Yearbook reports which movies had a significantly above-average attendance by different types of people.

Your task is to match up each of the six …

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