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 genre are british films?

Recently, both Catherine Rampell from the New York Times and Ted Hope have published interesting data on genres. Catherine Rampell looked at how audiences and critics typically rate genres differently – the genre they disagree most about is romantic comedies. On Ted Hope’s Filmonomics blog, Colin Brown showed how investors are four times keener to invest in comedies than LGBT and faith-based films. To join in the debate, I’ve had a look at genre from the point of view of the UK film industry.  In summary;

  • The genres with the highest budgetary spend are Action, Fantasy and Sci-fi.
  • By number British filmmakers mostly make Dramas, Comedies and Documentaries.
  • One in four UK films is a Drama but they make up only 7% of UK box office
  • The …
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The Numbers on 20 Years of Film Rental

In last week’s blog I published the figures for how much the UK Film Industry has earned in revenue over the last 15 years. A couple of people expressed surprise that the rental market used to provide as much as 20% of the total income a feature film could earn. With that in mind, I’ve taken a quick took at the last 20 years of UK Home Video sales and rentals. In summary:

  • VHS rentals were at their highest in 1992
  • By 2007 the film industry stopped tracking VHS rentals as there were so few
  • VHS rentals in 1992 were almost four times higher than DVD rentals in 2012
  • The peak for VHS sales was 1998, and the DVD peak was in 2008.
  • The first Netflix-like …
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Has piracy harmed the UK Film Industry?

A recent report by the London School of Economics suggests that far from hurting the music industry, piracy is actually helping.  They say…

Contrary to the industry claims, the music industry is not in terminal decline, but still holding ground and showing healthy profits. Revenues from digital sales, subscription services, streaming and live performances compensate for the decline in revenues from the sale of CDs or records- LSE MPP Policy Brief 9 Copyright and Creation, London School of Economics

A few people have asked me if the same applies to the film industry in the UK.  I’ve taken a look at some of the numbers to see if it’s clear either way. In summary…

  • 2012 UK DVD revenues were half what they were …
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How many UK films get a cinema release?

In response to last week’s blog looking at the number of films made in the UK, Jason Attar asked how many of the feature films made in the UK actually reach cinemas. Thanks Jason, good question.

In summary, between 2007 and 2010:

  • 35% of UK films are released in UK cinemas within two years of principal photography
  • A film’s budget is a strong indicator of how likely it is to get shown in cinemas
  • One in five UK films made for under £500,000 reached UK cinemas within two years of being shot
  • 70% of UK films with budgets over £5 million are theatrically distributed in the UK
  • Just under half of UK films cost under £500,000
  • Of the UK films which didn’t receive a theatrical release, 65% were …
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How many feature films are shot in the UK each year?

I am taking requests for areas to research and I will publish the data here. If you have a question about the film industry, in the UK or internationally, then please contact me.  This article is based on a question from Ed Dark, who asked “How many films are shot in the UK each year?“.

In summary:

  • In 2012, 249 films were shot in the UK
  • The peak was 2010, which saw 358 films shot
  • A third of all films shot in the UK since 1912 were shot after 2000
  • The single biggest factor affecting the number of films shot is government policy
  • One in five films shot in the UK is a Drama
  • Action films account for 30% of all the money spent on films in the …
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How much is Tom Cruise paid?

Below are the financial projections made by 20th Century Fox in the run up to the production of Valkyrie, showing how they work out how much is Tom Cruise paid. These numbers come from an internal file created to project the film’s costs and possible returns.  The film was made by MGM but Fox were handling the international distribution.

I’ve had these figures for a while and have been using them in classrooms of filmmakers and new producers. It’s always been one of the more fun lectures to teach, partly because of the opaque nature of Hollywood Accounting and partly to see the students’ reaction to the figures involved. I’ve long held the belief that we in the industry have a duty to …

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US6829612: Withoutabox’s Dirty Secret

In the last few weeks I’ve spent lots of time looking at film festivals and talking to film festival directors. A very common theme was their dislike of Withoutabox and their frustration that a better alternative doesn’t exist. I was intrigued as to why such a bad situation has gone unresolved for so long. So I dug around to find out:

  • Why is Withoutabox disliked so much?
  • Why did Amazon pay so much to buy Withoutabox?
  • Why isn’t there a credible alternative?

The surprising answer to all three questions is the same – a document called US6829612. But first, let’s have a bit of context.

Withoutabox History Lesson

Withoutabox (WAB) was set up in 2000 by David Straus, Joe Neulight and Charles Neulight. It was the …

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What film festival directors really think

In the last instalment of my Film Festival Survey, I offer the thoughts of film festival directors from around the world. My previous posts looked at how many festivals there are and the economics of running a festival. They were largely presented as charts and graphs of statistics.

In total, 523 film festival directors shared their thoughts, providing 14,862 words of commentary. Below is a selection of their thoughts.

The key messages are:

  • Film festival directors are just like filmmakers
  • A great story is the most important factor in picking films
  • Cinematography is the next biggest factor, along with good sound
  • Every festival wants your film to be shorter
  • The smaller festivals are crying out for better films
  • Festivals expect the filmmakers to market their own screenings
  • Press kits …
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The economics of film festivals

Last week I published the results of my study of almost 10,000 film festivals.  I found that around 3,000 festivals were active (i.e had run an event in the last 2 years),  most were in North America and 75% of them were created in the last ten years. That was a quantitative study based on publicly available information, but for the full picture I felt I needed to do a qualitative investigation to hear film festival directors’ points of view.

I contacted 5,000 film festival directors from my original list, asking them to fill in a quick anonymous survey about their experiences.  523 festival directors completed my survey, which was a higher number than I was expecting.  This reflected a wider …

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How many film festivals are there in the world?

This is the first of three articles about Film Festivals. In part 2 I will publish a survey I have conducted with film festival directors around the world, showing the data on their point of view. Part 3 will give a voice to the human stories of the festival directors by sharing stories and advice for filmmakers. This article focuses on the data behind film festivals around the world. At the bottom of this article I have gone into detail on the methodology I used to uncover these results.  I also list numerous ways in which I regard this study to be lacking, meaning that numbers should be assumed to be around 90%-95% accurate.  The short answer is that I …

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