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 percentage of a film crew is female?

Today I am releasing the results of a long-term project. For a while, I’ve been looking at the numbers behind female film crew members over the past 20 years.

The results are pretty shocking, and should hopefully serve as a wake up call to parts of the industry.  I don’t believe that the majority of the industry is fundamentally sexist or anti-women but when you look at these results, especially over time, it’s plain to see that something is wrong and it isn’t fixing itself.

Download the full report now, for free. This project was far too large to fit into a single blog post, so I’ve written it up as a PDF report. It spans 16 pages and breaks down the results in much more detail. The …

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What is the average film budget?

I spoke at The Data Summit last week and gave a room full of technology experts a by-the-numbers tour of the UK film industry. It’s always fun to give non-industry people a glimpse into the film industry as it’s a healthy reminder just how bizarre some of our practises are.  I spoke to the accompaniment of sharp intakes of breaths (at the chronic mis-match between supply and demand), the sound of jaws dropping (at the success rate of films) and even a heckle of support from The Guardian’s technology editor Charles Arthur (when discussing the “originality” of Hollywood films). One question that came from two different people was: What does it cost to make a film in Britain? So I thought I’d look at this on my blog this …

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The rise and rise of alternative cinema content

Last week I gave a talk at the Barbican for the East End Film Festival. The event, EMERGE, was looking at the convergence of technology and storytelling and which made for a fascinating day.  One of the topics which came up in discussion was the rise of UK alternative cinema content.  Due to time, we didn’t get a chance to address the issue properly so I promised I would cover it here. Alternative cinema content, or ‘Event Cinema’, is the use of cinemas to show concerts, events and performances which are not traditional feature films.

The sector has grown massively in recent years and even has its own trade body in the UK, the Event Cinema Association. Just like with feature films, the field is dominated with …

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Is the current film boom good for UK independent filmmakers?

I get asked a lot what the numbers reveal about the state of the UK film industry. The overall numbers suggest that we’re doing pretty well.  Box office admissions are up 250% from 1980, we have the second biggest box office in Europe (although frustratingly behind the French), UK employment in film production is twice what it was 15 years ago, and our films are taking an increasing amount at the global box office.  Most crucially, the last few years have seen the largest number of films produced in the UK since the invention of film.

However, this answer rarely sits well with small UK independent filmmakers. Many insist that times are hard and that the benefit of the ‘boom’ is only being felt by the Hollywood …

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How many people attend the Cannes film festival?

I have just returned from the Cannes Film Festival – exhausted, with a suitcase full of paperwork and a strong desire to sit alone in a darkened room for the next week to recover.  Cannes market (marché) and festival is *the* annual gathering of film professionals from all over the world and it’s a heady mix of sun, film screenings, ice creams, parties, awards, networking, ice creams, booze and fun.  And ice creams.

One of the drawbacks of writing about film data and statistics is that while I was there I was asked innumerable times “How many people do you think attend the Cannes film festival?”  I got so sick of the question that I vowed once I returned to Blighty I would investigate and publish …

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How many Assistant Directors work on a film?

A few months ago I looked at the size of crews on 2,000 films. Since then I’ve had many requests to break the numbers down by department. I published a producers breakdown a few weeks ago so now it’s time for the Assistant Directors (known as ADs). I looked at the Assistant Directors credits on live actions films within the highest grossing 100 films of each of the past 20 years, giving me a pool of 2,000 films to study. In summary…

  • In 2013, the average film had two First Assistant Directors, almost five Second ADs and one and a half Third ADs
  • Films budgeted over $100 million have three First ADs, seven Second ADs and three Third ADs
Twenty Years A.D.

In 2013, the average film …

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How does the BFI award it’s short film funding?

Today’s article is something I have been trying to write about for almost a year; short film funding. Last July I contacted the BFI with a Freedom of Information request about the amount of money awarded to short films. After a bit of chasing (and ten months passing), they have finally released the figures. I asked them which short film projects they have funded in the past few years, and to what amounts. In summary…

In summary…

  • Since 2011, the BFI has awarded over a million pounds to 29 short film projects
  • The largest amount of funding for one film was £58,500
  • Warp Films received over 10% of the total amount awarded
BFI short film funding by year

The total amount awarded since January 2011 was £1,084,961 …

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How many movies based on Shakespeare plays are there?

This week I haven’t had a great deal of time to produce in-depth research so here instead is something a bit lighter than my normal fare. I took a look at the number of movies based on Shakespeare plays. In summary…

  • There are 525 films which give Shakespeare some sort of writing credit
  • Of those, 294 are full adaptations of Shakespeare plays
  • Hamlet is the most often adapted Shakespeare play
  • Over half of all Shakespeare feature film adaptations are based on Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth or Othello.
Of the movies based on Shakespeare, which plays are most frequently adapted?

In total, there are 525 feature films which give William Shakespeare some form of writing credit. Looking in more detail at these films I found 294 films which …

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How good are movies which pass the Bechdel Test?

I should start this article with a personal note – I don’t like what I’ve found. I always try to approach data impartially and not look for certain results. Inevitably, this sometimes leads to results which challenge my beliefs or my opinions.  I am a firm believer that the representation of women on screen is often woefully poor and needs addressing.

Last week the guys at FiveThirtyEight published a great analysis of the box office performance of films which pass the Bechdel Test. My first thought was ‘damn’ as I have also been working on a similar study. They have been extremely thorough and it’s well worth reading their article. In order to avoid repeating their work I have shifted my research …

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Which script adaptations make the best films?

Today’s article is a mash-up of two topics I’ve previously covered. Last month, I published research into the source of Hollywood screenplays (i.e. script adaptations) and last week I investigated how audiences and critics rate films. So, it seemed only natural to put these two topics together and look at how critics and audiences rate films that come from different screenplay sources. I looked at the top 100 grossing films of each of the past 20 years (giving me 2,000 films to study) to calculate the average ratings given by IMDb users and the Metascore (i.e. film critics). In summary…

  • Screenplays based on true life events make the highest rated films
  • Films with original screenplays receive lower than average ratings
  • Critics and audiences …
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