The film financing of a £660k feature film

Last year, I shared the full costs and income of a £850k feature film called Papadopoulos & Sons.  The article remains popular and has led to a number of people asking me to share similar details of other films.  It’s a tricky ask, as the film industry is normally a closed shop and withholds numbers even when there is no obvious reason to do so.  

However, every now and then I meet filmmakers who are committed to helping the film community by sharing their journey.  

Today’s article covers the film financing of a new feature called Alleycats. The film’s director Ian Bonhôte and its producer Andee Ryder have been kind enough to share with me how they raised two-thirds of a million pounds. …

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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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How many filmmakers run multiple crowdfunding campaigns?

Crowdfunding provides filmmakers with a much better form of financing than investment or loans.  There’s nothing to repay, no one controls the creative process and you own 100% of your film. However, some people question how sustainable crowdfunding is as a repeating funding source. Can you really go back and raise more money on Kickstarter for a second film?

Today’s research was sparked by a reader question. James Heath emailed to ask “Do you happen to know many campaign owners who have gone from running smaller Kickstarter campaigns to returning later to do larger ones?”

In order to work this out, we need a lot of data. Fortunately, last year I performed an extensive study of all Kickstarter film projects which had run since …

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What types of low-budget films make the most money?

This is the fourth article in my series looking at the financial side of the film business.  In previous articles, I’ve looked at $100m+ Hollywood blockbusters, $30m-$100m movies and profitability across all movies released between 1990 and 2015.  

This week I have teamed up with Bruce Nash from The Numbers for a research project originally commissioned by the American Film Market.  They asked us to look into what types of low-budget films “break out” (i.e. make far more profit than is typical for films of their scale) and if there were any lessons for independent low-budget film producers. 

What types of low-budget films make the most money?

To discover the commonalities amongst low-budget breakout hits, we began with a list of over 3,000 …

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Do Hollywood movies make a profit?

For the third part in my series on the financial side of the film industry, I am turning to profitability and asking “Do Hollywood movies make a profit?”

Hollywood has a negative reputation when it comes to transparency and financial openness. It feels as though each month brings yet another news story about a Hollywood flop losing millions or another lawsuit where people accuse studios of fiddling the figures to prevent having to pay out profit shares. 

So let’s take a detailed look at profitability among Hollywood movies.  I will be working with three datasets, each providing a unique perspective on the matter…

  • The ‘Insider’ dataset.  A collection of 279 films for which I have inside financial data, revealing the true costs and income for the life …
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    How films make money pt2: $30m-$100m movies

    Last week I took you through all the costs involved in making and releasing a Hollywood blockbuster (budgeted over $100m), and how they earn their income.  

    This week we’re sliding down the budget range and looking how films make money on a smaller scale, with a focus on movies budgeted between $30m and $100m.  Like last week, all of the recoupment data I’m discussing today comes from real financial figures gleaned from genuine Hollywood movies.  You can read more about the data sources in last week’s Epilogue.

    How films make money: Movies budgeted $30m to $100m

    Before we look at the financial data, we have to talk about the types of movies I’m referring to in today’s article.  Last week, I was able to …

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    How much has the UK government paid in film tax breaks?

    Last week, the BBC broadcast ‘The Great Gangster Film Fraud‘, a feature-length documentary which told the true story of an attempted scam by two “filmmakers”.  They used a combination of tax frauds in an attempt to claim £2.5 million from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).  They said they had made a £20 million film and so were entitled to money back via the Film Tax Relief (FTR) scheme.  When they were accused of fraud, they hastily rushed out a film for £84,000 in the hope this would placate HMRC (called ‘A Landscape of Lies‘, seemingly without a hint of irony).  It didn’t work and in 2013 the first ever prosecution of a FTR fraud case took place in which Aoife Madden and Bashar Al-Issa were jailed for four …

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    Film crowdfunding tips – What the data says you should do

    I’m continuing my investigation into crowdfunding and today I’m sharing some practical film crowdfunding tips. In previous articles I’ve looked at the number of projects, where they’re based, how much money they’re asking for and the day and time they’re launched. We’ve seen a few correlations with success, some predictable (projects which ask for less money do better) and some less so (projects which end on a Sunday fare poorest).

    For this article, I thought I would use the data to give some specific film crowdfunding tips and nuggets of advice to help you create a successful film crowdfunding campaign. This is the result of a data-crunching research project into the 47,809 film crowdfunding campaigns launched on Kickstarter between its inception …

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    The statistics behind film crowdfunding: Part 1

    Over the past few months I’ve been running a number of research projects into film crowdfunding and now I’m ready to start sharing what I’ve found.  

    The research has two outcomes.  Firstly, blog articles sharing the results of my data research into film projects on Kickstarter, Indiegogo and other crowdfunding platforms.  It’s going to take a few weeks to publish it all as there’s so much but eventually it will all end up on here for free.

    Secondly, a short online course called ‘A Crash Course In Crowdfunding for Filmmakers‘. This is everything you need to know to get started running a crowdfunding campaign for your film. Click here to find out more and for free previews of the lessons.  

    Up first, here are the top-line stats …

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    UK films with public funding hire more women

    Today’s article is an offshoot of two strands of research I’ve been working on over the past few years – gender in the film industry and UK films with public funding.  I looked at the percentage of female writers, producers and directors within UK films, focusing on how the female representation changes between films supported by a public body and those that are not.

    In summary…

    • 20% of UK films shot 2009-13 received some form of public funding
    • Across all UK films 2009-13, women accounted for 14% of directors, 27% of producers and 15% of writers
    • On publicly-backed films, women account for 20% of directors, 32% of producers and 24% of writers
    • The BFI fund a disproportionately large number of dramas, biopics and period dramas
    • The BFI …
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