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 British films better than Hollywood films?

Towards the end of last year the BFI re-published numbers showing how poorly the average British film performs at the box office.  Overall only 7% made a profit, and that figure drops to 3.4% when you look at films costing under £500,000.  The figure was certainly headline-grabbing, but it wasn’t the whole picture.  Firstly, it doesn’t follow that the investors of the 93% of “non-profitable” films lost money.  Most UK films under £500,000 are operated via SEIS and EIS schemes which can protect as much as 78% of an investor’s money, meaning that a film can “under perform” at the box office and yet still allow the investor to recoup.  And secondly, the box office is only half the picture. …

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How many jobs are in Shooting People’s Filmmaker bulletin?

This week I took a look at independent filmmaking in the UK, to see what films are being made and what connections filmmakers are looking to form.  To do this, I analysed a year’s worth of jobs on the community site Shooting People.  I have been a member for over a decade and have used them many times to find cast, crew and collaborators. For those who don’t know, Shooting People is a daily email which serves as a bulletin board, news provider and soapbox for filmmakers. It costs £40 a year to subscribe and any member (known as a ‘Shooter’) can post to the bulletins.

I took a year’s worth of their flagship ‘Filmmaker’ bulletin (1st December 2012 to 30 November 2013 …

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20 interesting film facts we learned this year

As we come to the end of 2013 I thought I would look back over the articles, surveys and data I’ve published this year to find the strangest facts.

1. ‘We Bought A Zoo’ was too full of ‘shit’, according to complaints from parents sent to the BBFC, as revealed this year.  Other complaints included parents bemoaning that the violence in The Dark Knight Rises was too ‘crunchy’ and that the 1970 classic ‘The Railway Children’ might encourage children to play on railway tracks. More…

2. The United Arab Emirates have a higher percentage of women in their film business than both the UK and America. This came from my study of gender within film business professionals, i.e. attendees of major film markets. Within the …

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Do women prefer films made by female filmmakers?

This is the second of a three part series on gender in the film industry.  The first article was published on Monday and looked at new data I’ve gathered for the global film business. The third article will be published on Friday and is a collation of all the film gender studies I could find.

The blog articles cannot cover all of the information I have gathered so I am creating a PDF report that includes all the gender studies and data. If you want to receive the full 30 page report then please join my free mailing list via the box to the right and I’ll send you the PDF once it’s ready. The report will contain…

  • New data on gender within the global …
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Gender in the International Film Business

This is the first of a three part series on gender in the film industry, which I’ve wanted to look at for a long time. It’s taken a while to put this together and the end result is three blog posts and a whole heap of graphs. This article looks at new data I’ve gathered for the global film business, the second article looks at film audiences and the final post is a collation of all the film gender studies I could find. The blog articles cannot cover all of the information I have gathered so I am creating a PDF report that includes all the gender studies and data. If you want to receive the full 30 page report …

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Which genre offers the best chance of a career?

Today’s article is a bit more complex than usual but it started with a simple question…

In last week’s article I crunched the numbers on the average number of credits UK writers, producer, director and actors have.  I calculated these based on UK films made since 2003 on over £500,000 and on UK films made since 2008 on under £500,000.  The results were fairly sobering (only about one in five filmmakers manage to make a second feature film) and it led Mustapha to ask me via Twitter:

How many of those filmmakers who didn’t make a second film made dramas? Is there any correlation or is that pattern across the board?- @MKseibati

In summary…

  • The largest number of jobs are within Drama
  • Across all budgets, Horror …
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How many films in an average film career?

Thanks to the BFI, I’ve managed to build a list of all the UK films budgeted at over £500k since 2003 and all the UK films budgeted at under £500k since 2008. That’s 2,737 feature films in total.  I’m starting to crunch the numbers on this large dataset and in the coming weeks I’ll share what I discover.

All the data in this article relates to UK films, although the people aren’t all UK nationals. First up – let’s take a look at how many films each person has been involved with.  In summary…

  • Only 13% of producers of low budget films have subsequently produced a second film
  • Under 3% of directors who have directed a film have gone on to direct two …
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Where in the world do British films do well?

I spent some of last week in Berlin at the InterFilm International Short Film Festival which was playing host to the Viral Video Awards (where my film ‘The Theory of Everything‘ won the Audience Award!)

The experience of watching British films abroad got me thinking about the export of UK films. Despite the fact that most British filmmakers want to sell their films worldwide, few seem to have a handle on how likely that is. I took a look at how British films perform around the world and which types of British films do best. In summary…

  • The UK is the second largest exporter of films, after America
  • In 2012, British films accounted for 15% of the global box office
  • The vast majority of internationally …
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How many film students are there in the UK?

Last week I published figures for the huge growth in the UK Film sector in the last decade. This sparked a number of people to contact me and ask about if this boom is mirrored in the number of people studying film in higher education. The short answer is, kinda. There has certainly been a massive increase in film students in the last eight years, however its growth curve is largely uncorrelated to that of jobs within the film industry. I found that…

  • The number of UK film students grew by 240% between 2004 and 2012
  • Of 2012 film students, 17% were studying ‘Film Production’ and 83% ‘Film Studies’
  • Between 2004-12, ‘Film Production’ students grew by 589%
  • More and more ‘media students’ are focusing …
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How many people work in the film industry in the UK?

I was asked by Kat, “How many people work in the UK Film Industry?” so I took a look.  In summary…

  • In 2012, there were 70,000 people at work in the film industry in the UK
  • 65% work in production, 10% in distribution and 25% in exhibition.
  • We are currently in a boom for film production jobs, up 261% on 1996
  • Most of this is fuelled by Hollywood’s inward investment in the UK
  • Many cinema staff are on zero-hour contracts
  • The number of cinema screens is stable but exhibition jobs are not
We’re in a boom for film jobs…

2011 was the biggest year for UK film jobs in a very long time (I can’t find figures going back far enough but it’s the biggest year I could find on …

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