I just finished adding movies from the 1980s to my big list, where I’m still investigating if movies have changed much over the years. Here are the results so far…

In the 1980s, 23% of the top ten highest grossing movies for each year were sequels, and 13% were based on books. In the 90s, those numbers were 14% and 26%, and in the 2000s, 39% and 30%. It’s definitely looking so far as if there are more sequels and movies of books than there ever have been before. We’ll see if that trend keeps going as I go further back. 2010+ I didn’t mention because we’ve only had two complete years so far, but an amazing 60% sequels in those years (mainly due to 2011 where 9 of the top ten movies were sequels).

Some other cool stats (this is all raw data so far as I haven’t analyzed anything yet). Adjusted to 2010 dollars, the average top ten movie from the 1980s made $275m, from the 90s $535m, and from the 2000s $668m. Based on that, it doesn’t seem like movie studio profits are really declining as the studios would have us believe.

Again adjusted to 2010 dollars, the highest grossing film so far is Avatar, with $2835m, closely followed by Titanic with $2488m. Jurassic Park was the next closest at $1381m.

The year with the most movies from books was 1993 with 6/10, including Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List and The Firm. 2011 had the most sequels with 9/10, the next down the list was 2003 with 6, including sequels to Lord of the Rings, Terminator and The Matrix.Only 1996 so far has more than 3 remakes, including 101 Dalmations and the Nutty Professor.

Interestingly, the amount of remakes has been pretty constant at around 5% each decade since the 1980s, which is lower than I would expect. One trend is that movie producers are reaching further back into the past to get books to base movies on. In the 1980s the average number of years for a remake or movie of a book was 19 (meaning 19 years between the book/original release and the subsequent movie). In the 1990s that increased to 30 years, and since 2010 it’s been 37 years.

[edit]

I just worked out some statistics on this. The average percentage of original movies in the 90s was 50%, whereas in the 2000s was 33%. We can go further than that, and say that we’re 95% confident that the percentage of original movies in the 90s is between 40.2% and 59.8%. In the 2000s, we can be 95% confident that the percentage of original movies is between 23.8% and 42.2%. We can also be 95% confident that there were more original movies in the 90s, and the difference is somewhere between 4% and 31%.

To be continued…