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 actors are willing to perform nude?

On-screen nudity has always been a contentious topic for new actors.

Many movies and television shows have small roles for actors who are willing to bare their bodies, meaning that if an up-and-coming actor disrobes on-screen, they can potentially give their CV a boost.

On the other hand, doing so means that there will forever be video clips of them naked online: something that would make the vast majority of people uncomfortable.

We cannot get inside the head of every actor facing this choice, but we are able to measure what actors mark on their professional profile in relation to their willingness to perform nude. The data for today’s piece comes from my database of every working actor in the UK who has a public …

Read full article

Is acting a profession dominated by the young?

I have been asked a number of times over the years to study actors and the acting profession.

The interested parties tend to fall into one of two camps:

  • Young, fresh-faced up-and-coming actors looking to understand how they can best succeed in their exciting new career of acting.
  • Working professional actors asking why the industry is so biased, unfair and looking for evidence as to whether they should quit or battle through for another year.
  • It’s tricky to do a small amount of research on the topics at hand.  To properly study the profession, I would need to build a huge database of every actor working in the UK, at all levels, along with all manner of details about them, including their level of …

    Read full article

    How far in advance are movie release dates announced?

    Earlier this month, Disney published release dates for their upcoming slate of movies, including their newly expanded roster of titles acquired when they bought rival studio Fox.

    This included a domestic theatrical release date (i.e. when the movie will open in American and Canadian cinemas) for Avatar 5 of 17th December 2027.

    Yup, the date has been fixed a whopping 3,144 days ahead of the actual release.

    In many cases, the release date is literally the only piece of information revealed about an upcoming movie – even before the movie’s title.  Disney’s future release schedule currently contains dates for 29 “untitled” films, including:

    • Twelve movies called “Untitled Disney Live Action”
    • Eight called “Untitled Marvel”
    • Four “Untitled Pixar” (although only two of them are described as animations)
    • Three …
    Read full article

    Are video game movies the worst type of adaptations?

    The recent release of Pokémon Detective Pikachu has prompted some readers to get in touch and ask about the quality of movies based on video games.

    Most of the questions were variations of: “Are video game movies the worst type of movie adaptations?

    To answer this, I looked at all movies released in US cinemas between 1993 and 2018, inclusive. (See the Note section for a more detailed explanation of the dataset and sources).

    I’m going to use the Metacritic score and IMDb rating to serve as measures of quality from the perspective of film critics and film audiences, respectively.

    Let’s first acquaint ourselves with the genre.

    A primer in video game movies

    The first movie adapted from a video game was 1993’s Super Mario Bros and in …

    Read full article

    Which actors most frequently appear in excellent / awful movies?

    In a previous article, I have looked at the ‘brands’ of top actors by studying the genres they most frequently appear in.

    Today, I am going to look at another facet of an actor’s brand: what their presence in a movie signals to the audience about the movie’s quality.

    Quality is obviously a subjective term and so rather than trying to figure this out myself, I’m going to use two proxies:

    • Metascore, which is a weighted average of the ratings given by top film critics, as calculated by Metacritic.
    • IMDb audience rating, which is the score given by IMDb users.

    I’ll be looking at both measures as these two constituencies – critics and audiences – don’t always agree.  Critics tend to favour high-brow, dramatic content …

    Read full article

    A data-led analysis on how to survive the Cannes Film Festival

    The Cannes Film Festival and Market are just around the corner. It’s a mad mix of five-star movies, five-minute meetings and five-Euro bottles of water.

    To help attendees get the most out of their trip, I have gone through my archives of Cannes research, and conducted some new research, to see what a data-led analysis can reveal.

    I’ve boiled down the key points to just eight main takeaways, with links to explore each in more detail.

    1. The opening weekend is the time to be there

    Over the years, I have conducted numerous studies into when people attend top film festivals and the opening weekend always comes out on top.  This year that means the 18th and 19th of May.

    In 2016, I interviewed 575 …

    Read full article

    To what degree do actors stick to just one genre?

    When the public first hears of a new movie, they don’t have much information to judge it on.  This is before they can get a steer on the quality of the film (i.e. no reviews, no word of mouth) so they have only scant information with which to form an opinion on whether or not to see it.

    The company behind it is rarely a factor (with the possible exception of Disney and their sub-brands Pixar and Marvel).  Not many directors have a strong commercial public brand and almost no producers or writers do.  So what is the public using to form their snap judgement?  It normally comes down to:

    • The genre(s)
    • The poster elements (i.e. name, visual style and logline)
    • The main actor(s)

    This …

    Read full article

    Which countries most commonly team up to create film co-productions?

    In the past few months, I have received a growing number of questions relating to international collaboration on movies. Some relate to the individual level of cast and crew working across borders while others focus on films as commercial products manufactured in more than one country.

    It’s hard to tell why the topic of international collaboration in the film industry is becoming more frequent in readers’ questions.  It could be Brexit specifically or a more general sense that as nationalism rises around the world, the need for partnership in the arts increases.

    With no Brexit deal on the horizon, we are still unsure what Britain’s departure from the EU will mean for the British and European film industries.  Some aspects both have …

    Read full article

    What percentage of film producers are women?

    Last week, I looked at producers’ careers and this week I am going to use the same data to look at how the picture differs between male and female film producers.

    This research harnesses my dataset of every feature film released between 1949 and 2018 inclusive. This includes 631,365 producer credits across 274,991 films and 269,385 individual producers.

    For today’s article, I’m going to assume that readers are familiar with the different types of producing credits.  If you would like a quick primer then head over to last week’s article, entitled On average, how many films does a producer produce? In the opening section, I have detailed the different credits and what they mean.

    What percentage of film producers are women?

    In 2018, 26.4% of all …

    Read full article

    On average, how many films does a producer produce?

    A few months ago, I looked at the average number of films a director is likely to make over their career.  This led to people asking about producers and so I agreed to take a look.

    The role of a movie producer is wide-ranging, flexible and often confusing.  Added to that, there are a number of different types of producer credit, each holding different meaning and power.

    I used my dataset of every fiction feature film made between 1949 and 2018 inclusive, and zeroed in on the producer credits.  This includes 631,365 producer credits across 274,991 films and 269,385 individual producers.

    Let’s start by looking at what producer credits there are and then move on to producing careers.

    Producers award producer credits

    For most senior positions on major films, there …

    Read full article