I have a big list of projects that I’m working on. In fact it’s a spreadsheet, and each project is prioritized from 1 to 5. The frequency with which I should update each one is determined by the priority, and the spreadsheet colour codes them. No I’m not kidding, this is how many different things I have going.
Anyway, aside from music (Monday’s project), writing, programming, drawing and so on, I have a few investigative projects. The one I worked on today and yesterday is a movie project.
Ever wondered if there really are more remakes, sequels and films made from books than there were ‘back in the day’? Is the movie industry really less imaginative (or just greedier) than it used to be? Well I have wondered, and I aim to find out.
So far I’ve looked at over ten years of movies, to find out a few things.
- Is the number of sequels growing year by year or decade by decade? Turns out that so far, no, it’s relatively fixed at around 3-4 of the top 10 each year.
- Are there more movies made from books, as Hollywood gets increasingly desperate for ideas, or less willing to take risks (especially in a weak economy)? This one is a little trickier. So far it looks like the number of movies from books has gone up since the 90s, probably thanks to several franchises (Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter) that are each multiple movies and books.
- Has the number of remakes gone up? So far no, around 10% of top ten movies are remakes of earlier movies.
- Has the number of animated movies gone up? Yes, the number of animated movies has gone up from around 20% in 2000-2010 to around 40% of the top ten since that time.
- Are the remakes based on recent books/movies or older ones? This one is still undecided.
Here’s the data for 2000-2009. 39% of the movies surveyed were sequels, 30% were films of books, and 9% were remakes. 33% were original (not any of the above) and 21% were animated. The average gross of the 100 movies was $600m, and the top earner (Avatar) came in at $2.8bn (that’s a US billion).
The astute among you may have noticed that the numbers above don’t total 100%. That’s because a movie can be a sequel and/or a remake and/or a book (e.g. the second two lord of the rings movies).
I’m aiming to go all the way back to the very beginning of film in the 1920s to see how things have changed, we’ll see if I make it that far!
What I did
For anyone who’s interested, here’s what I did. I looked at the top ten films for each year, and found if each one was a sequel, a remake, from a book/comic/graphic novel etc. and recorded the gross earnings at the box office. Then I put all the data for the year and the decade together.