Posted Tuesday 13 Dec 2016
Stephen has been looking at movies based on true stories, following a question from Kathleen Drumm, Toronto International Film Festival Industry Director. Kathleen also asked about the quality of these movies and posited that they are likely to be better than your average movie, due to the fact that they frequently make up a large number of Oscar nominations for 'Best Picture'.
To study this topic, Stephen built a dataset of all movies which grossed at least $1 million in US cinemas between 1996 and 2015 (inclusive) and then looked at each movie's Metascore. Metascore averages the ratings of major film critics to produce a score out of 100. The Metascore will stand in as our measure of what film critics think of a movie and we'll judge the audiences' reaction via the IMDb user rating (out of 10).
It turns out that movies based on real life get the highest scores, from both audiences and critics. Movies based on video games performed the poorest. The biggest difference between the views of critics and audiences was for films based on musicals or operas. Critics rated those films as their second favourite script source (62.8 out of 100), whereas audiences rated them second last (5.5 out of 10).
At the Oscars in the past few years, movies based on real life events have accounted for most of the winners and many of the nominees.
You can read the full article here https://stephenfollows.com/movies-based-on-true-stories/
From the archives: The article refers to movies which were not adapted from pre-existing material or events as 'original screenplays' However, this doesn't mean that they are artistically 'original'. I looked at this topic last summer in a piece entitled "How original are Hollywood movies?". You can read that piece here https://stephenfollows.com/how-original-are-hollywood-movies/