Do good movie reviews lead to a higher chance of financial success?

Some producers do all they can to court film critics, under the impression that one positive review in the right journal can herald financial success for their movie.  While other producers scoff at the notion of the all-powerful film critic, believing instead that reviews hold no sway in the actions of movie-goers. 

Bruce Nash from The Numbers and I investigated this very topic, by studying the correlation between the reviews a movie receives and its chance of reaching profitability. Or to put it in the language of the ruthless investor or producer:  “Does it actually matter if critics think my movie is any good?”

We looked at 3,715 feature films released in US cinemas 2000-15 for which we have production budget information (a …

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Film vs movie – Which is the best term to use?

In the last few weeks I have been writing articles about big budget Hollywood blockbusters and in doing so I have faced a linguistic dilemma.  Until now, I almost exclusively used the term film on this blog, rather than movie.  It somehow felt more appropriate and mirrored the conversations I have in the industry.  However, it sounds strange to refer to ‘Fast & Furious 7″ as a film rather than a movie, so I opted to talk about “Hollywood movies” in those articles.  

Now I’m back to writing about things other than Hollywood blockbusters and I find myself… confused.  Which is the better phrase?  Which of the two do most people use? What do they even mean?

So, as regular readers would expect, I have turned to …

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The scale of Hollywood remakes and reboots

There a number of clear signs you’re getting older; Policemen look younger, music gets louder and more unintelligible and you start complaining more often about “How could they possibly remake that movie?”

Personally, I think part of the outcry against any upcoming Hollywood remake is in fact misplaced anxiety about the passage of time and the ever-closer creeping inevitability of death, but I guess that’s a debate for a different blog. While you’re still around to complain, would you like to see the stats on Hollywood remakes?  ‘Course you would…

  • The percentage of Hollywood remakes has been falling over the past decade
  • In 2005, 17% of top grossing films were Hollywood remakes but by 2014 it was just 5%
  • The fourth horror film ever made was a …
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Hollywood sequels by the numbers

Last week’s article on how original Hollywood movies are had such a great response that I’ve rushed out a sequel featuring many of the same characters.  Not only that, but I’ve twigged that I can split the follow-up into two parts to maximise my audience.  (I may have been studying Hollywood for too long…)

This week I am looking at Hollywood sequels and next week I will be addressing remakes and reboots.  I looked at the 100 highest US grossing films of each of the past 10 years, focusing on Hollywood sequels and prequels.  In summary…

  • In the past 10 years, the number of top grossing films which were sequels has more than doubled
  • In both 2013 and 2014, seven of the top 10 grossing films were either …
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How original are Hollywood movies?

A while ago I looked at the source of Hollywood films, to see what existing material they were adapted from.  It’s a topic I continue to get questions about; specifically about the number of sequels, spinoffs and reboots in Hollywood today.  Therefore, I’ve decided to take a more detailed look at the lineage of the top grossing Hollywood films.

Today’s research looks at the 100 highest grossing films at the US box office in each year between 2005 and 2014 (1,000 films in total). In summary…

  • 39% of top movies released 2005-14 were truly original, i.e. not an adaptation, sequel, spin-off, remake, or other such derivative work
  • The biggest ten movies of each year are rarely truly original (15% of the time, 2005-14).
  • In both 2013 and …
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The best and worst ever films at Cannes

As the weather cools and the faces become ever more haggard, it’s clear that we’re past the midpoint of the Cannes Film Festival. The reviews are in for about half of the selected ‘In Competition’ films at Cannes and speculation is rife about who will win the coveted Palme d’Or.  

To mark this moment, I have looked back at what film audiences and critics made of past nominees and winners. In summary;

  • Pulp Fiction is the highest scoring film with audiences to ever have played in Cannes
  • Pan’s Labyrinth is the best reviewed Cannes-nominated film ever.
  • The worst Cannes nominated film, according to audiences, was Utomlyonnye solntsem 2: Predstoyanie
  • Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me received an average Metascore of just 28 out of 100
  • The film with …
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What types of films win the Palme d’Or at Cannes?

On Wednesday the 68th Cannes Film Festival will open, ushering in twelve days of films, drinks, parties, meetings, drinks, networking and drinks.

Last year I looked at the business side of the Cannes experience, measuring the number of people who attend each year and how many films are shown in the market. So this year I thought I would focus on the artistic side of Cannes – i.e. the films selected to be ‘In Competition’.  

I looked at the 1,660 films which have been selected to be in the main competition at Cannes between 1939 and 2015.  In summary…

  • 84% of Palme d’Or shortlisted films are dramas (2010-15)
  • French films account for 53% of Cannes-shortlisted films (2010-15)
  • In the 1950s, only 8% of Cannes …
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Are films with public funding better than those without?

I recently had a conversation with someone who works at a major film public funding body (who shall remain nameless) and they said “I am starting to doubt if the films we fund are actually any better than the ones we don’t”.  

It sounded like a good topic to investigate so I agreed to do some research. This goes to the heart of why public funding for films exists – is it to train filmmakers, to foster creativity/art, to invest in an industry or for something else entirely?  Without knowing why we support films with public funding we can’t agree on an objective set of factors to measure success.  

However, in order to investigate this topic today I am going to take a leap and …

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Film industry press: The most shared articles

Last week I looked at the volume of articles published by major film industry news publications.  This week I have built upon that information to uncover the film industry’s most shared, liked and tweeted articles. I studied all 239,720 articles published by Deadline, the Hollywood Reporter, Indiewire, Screen International and Variety between 2012 and 2014. In summary…

  • Variety has the largest presence on Facebook while the Hollywood Reporter is most shared on Twitter.
  • “Dies” is Variety’s 20th most frequently-used word in headlines, appearing in 2.5% of headlines.
  • In 2014, the Hollywood Reporter received an average of 97 tweets per article.
  • 7% of the Hollywood Reporter headlines included the word ‘exclusive’, compared with 3% at Indiewire.
  • Variety published seven of the top ten most tweeted articles of the film industry press in 2012-14.
  • The …
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Film industry press: Who publishes the most?

Today’s article started life in much the same way this blog did – a conversation in a pub with fellow film professionals. We were discussing the merits of different film industry press sites and my interest was piqued enough to want to have a look at the numbers. I took a look at articles published by five major film industry press sites between 2012 and 2014. In the coming weeks I will share more of what I found but let’s start with the basics – how many articles do they publish and who’s writing them.

Reporting on reporting

I should start by saying that it isn’t fair to compare different publications purely by the number of articles they publish.  The length, quality and depth …

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