How frequently do actors produce movies they star in?

1 November '21 Comment

The tragic shooting on the ‘Rust’ set is still playing out, in the legal system and in the media. It seems that Alec Baldwin could face two sets of issues – both as the actor who fired the deadly bullet and as a producer of the movie on which the crime occurred.

This has prompted a few readers to get in touch to ask about the prevalence of actor-producers on modern movies.

In order to find out how common it is for performers to produce (or producers to act, depending on your perspective), I looked at the data behind all live-action movies released in US cinemas between 2000 and 2019.

How many actors also produce the movies they in?

Four out of five films did not have an actor-producer, 16.8% had one and 3.8% had two or more.

Of those actors who did receive a producer credit, 55% were full “Producer” credits, 29.5% were Executive Producers, 6.1% Associate Producers, 8.1% Co-Producers and 1.2% some other form of producing credit.

An example of a movie with an unusually large number of actor-producers is the 2007 horror film ‘Spiral‘, which had five actor-producers. Two actors (Ryan Chase and Lori Yohe) were Executive Producers, two more (Zachary Levi and Joel David Moore) were credited as Associate Producers and one (David Muller) was a Co-producer.

Are actor-producers becoming more popular?

Over the past two decades, there has been a slight increase in the frequency of actor-producers. Over this time the number of films produced has markedly increased, meaning that so too has the raw number of actor-producers.

Which genres are most likely to be produced by their star?

Horror movies and war movies are the least likely to be produced by someone who is also starring in the movie. Sports movies are the most likely, at just over double the rate of horror movies (22.8% vs 10.2%).

Comedy is the third most popular genre for actor-producers, and is also the home territory of the most frequently credited people in this research, namely:

  • Tyler Perry (16 actor-producer credits)
  • Seth Rogen (15)
  • Adam Sandler (14)
  • Ice Cube (13)
  • Will Ferrell (11)
  • Mark Wahlberg (11)
  • Vin Diesel (11)

Further reading

You can read more about acting and producing in these past articles:

Notes

The data for today’s research came from a variety of sources, including IMDb, Wikipedia and Metacritic.

This research is focused on fiction feature films (so not short films, TV movies, documentaries, etc) and includes all movies released in cinemas in North America between 2000 and 2019. I left out 2020 due to the pandemic making “theatrically released” slightly redundant criteria. I don’t see any reason for the 2020 crop to be significantly different from what we’ve seen above.

In today’s research, ‘Actors’ refer to the top ten billed actors on each movie, as detailed in online credits. The term ‘actor’ is not gender-specific in this case.

Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stephen Follows