Where are the top Hollywood movie locations?

As part of my research into the film business in China last week, I started to look at which countries Hollywood films are shot in. I expected to see an increase in films being shot in China in order to appease the state, however I found no such pattern. One side-effect is that I was able to extend my research to other countries. In summary…

  • 48% of Hollywood films are shot exclusively in America
  • 28% are shot entirely outside of the USA
  • In 2014, 15% of Hollywood films were shot in part in the UK
  • The UK has taken over from Canada as most popular non-US Hollywood movie locations
  • Films set in New York are often shot in Toronto
  • 71% of films shot in Iceland between 2000-14 were …
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How much do Hollywood campaigns for an Oscar cost?

On Thursday, the Oscar nominations will be revealed.  Although for the public this is the start of ‘Oscar season’, in fact the studios have been campaigning hard for many months.

Millions of dollars have already been spent and by the time Oscar night comes around on 22nd February, Hollywood will have spent over $100 million to win a little golden man.

Most of the reporting online is about the films, the frocks and the politics – little about the financial cost.  So I did a bit of digging and have put together the numbers behind Oscar campaigns.

In summary…

  • Oscar voters are 94% white,  77% male and have a median age of 62.
  • 56% of ‘Best Picture’ nominees were released in either November or December.
  • The cost of a ‘Best …
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Do film critics and film audiences agree?

I’ve always wondered if film critics are biased towards certain types of movies, so I thought I would take a look at what the data can tell us. I looked that the 100 highest grossing films from each of the past 20 years, which gave me 2,000 films to study. I then cross referenced data from IMDb’s user votes, Rotten Tomatoes’ audience percentage, Metacritic’s Metascore and Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer. In summary…

  • Film critics and audiences do rate films differently
  • Film critics are tougher and give a broader range of scores
  • Film critics and audiences disagree most on horror, romantic comedies and thrillers.
  • Audiences and film critics gave the highest ratings to films that were distributed by Focus Features.
  • Film critics really do not like films …
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How many people work on a Hollywood film?

Last week I ran a course in Malaysia for the Met Film School and the Malaysian Government. Malaysia is set to be a popular destination for Hollywood projects, thanks mostly to the 30% tax break and the brand new Pinewood Studio complex. The studio is not officially open yet but already ‘Marco Polo’ has set up shop and is hiring. The Malaysian government is funding courses to prepare locals for work on huge Hollywood productions and my course last week was for would-be Production Assistants.

In order to give the students a sense of the scale of these productions I asked them to guess how many people worked on the movie ‘Avatar’. Guesses ranged from a few hundred up to a …

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Which MPAA rating earns the most money?

Last week I looked at the top 100 films for each of the past 20 years, and whether they were adaptations or original screenplays. That post sparked a flurry of follow-up questions, with many people wanting to know more stats about those 2,000 films. A common question was about film ratings.

Last year I looked at the rating system in the UK (“Raters Gonna Rate“) so this post is exclusively about the American rating system. In America films are voluntarily rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), although few unrated films are released in major cinemas.

In summary:

  • 41% of releases are PG-13 but they make up 47% of the box office
  • In 1995 PG-13 films took 31% of the Box Office …
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What are the highest-grossing movie adaptations?

This week I have been looking at the 100 highest grossing films for each of the last 20 years. This gave me a dataset of 2,000 films with which to answer a question from Tom Worth…

Can you crunch the data on the number of films that are original screenplays and those that are based on some other source be it a book, comic, another film, etc. We all know Hollywood has gone franchise crazy recently but I’d be interested to see that actual data.

In summary…

  • 51% of the top 2,000 films of the last 20 years were movie adaptations
  • The most common source for movie adaptations is literary fiction.
  • 2012 saw five times the number of sequels released compared to 1999
  • Romantic Comedy is …
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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 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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