Frankfurt Maths 4: Sneak Preview

Every week, the Frankfurt Metropolis Cinestar cinema shows a “Sneak Preview” of a random upcoming English film. We attend every week, which means that over the course of the year, we get to see a good selection of everything Hollywood and Pinewood have to offer.

And, as Dove suggested, it might be fun to look back over the year of films and do a bit of stats. Sneak seems to be loaded with gritty thrillers, but how many are there, really? How many films go on so long that we miss the last train?

Let’s see!

A graph showing the body count of Sneak films over a year, with a 4 week moving average

Body count, with 4 week moving average (watch out for the log scale!)

Here’s our first set of data: body count! Most films at Sneak (31 out of 49) don’t actually have more than 2 deaths, and 18 – around two-fifths – were death-free. The moving average is there, although it’s arguably not very useful, just because of how much the death-filled outliers like Hercules (at least 534 on-screen deaths!) affect the average.

Scatter graph of film length against date, with a 4 week moving average.

Film length (minutes), with 4 week moving average

More useful is the moving average for movie length. This year, the longest movies were loaded in the coldest months (all 5 of the shortest movies were shown during Summer Time, while of the 5 longest, only one was, in late October). This is not good when you have to catch the late-night trains and trams home!

Histogram of running time in 5 minute bins

Histogram of run time, counting films by length (rounded to the nearest 5 mins)

Interestingly, a lot of films are almost exactly 2 hours long – whether Sneak just likes selecting 120 minute films or Hollywood deliberately tries to make 120 minute films would require more data.

Bar chart showing films by genre

Number of films by genre

So, how about those thrillers? Well, thrillers really are the most dominant genre, although comedy and action are close behind, and dramas and biopics are also well represented. Overall, not a bad mix of genres, although I’m sure the number of romcoms and horrors are down on previous years.

Stacked bar chart of film genres by month

Genres per month

Here’s the genre breakdown by month (I know stacked bar charts are neither pretty, nor colour-blindness friendly – don’t worry, this is the only one in this blog post! German release dates tend to lag American ones by a few weeks, and so Oscar bait season began in January, although drama had another surge in September and October. Comedy seems to be very much a summer thing, while action movies were scattered throughout the year.

Bar chart showing movie source

Movie source

But where do the films come from? Well, surprisingly, original ideas and true stories still  dominate – at Sneak, at least. 29 films came from these sources, while 21 were from pre-existing properties, and only 7 were actual remakes or sequels to movies (and one of those sequels was 22 Jump Street, the sequel that mocks the concept of sequels).

Bar chart showing movie settings

Movie settings/locations

But don’t be fooled, Hollywood hasn’t become totally original. Here are the primary settings of the films we had this year. America has 25 of 50 – and that’s not including all the movies that featured American characters in other countries. The UK comes second with 5 – all British films too – and the rest of the world picks up what’s left.

A bit of miscellaneous data:

Remakes: Belgian>American (Loft > The Loft), French>American (Banlieue 13 > Brick Mansions), Canadian>Canadian (La grande séduction > The Grand Seduction)

Posthumous performances: at least 3 (Paul Walker in Brick Mansions, Philip Seymour Hoffman in A Most Wanted Man, James Gandolfini in The Drop)

Liam Neesons: 3 (Non-Stop, Anchorman 2, A Walk Among the Tombstones)

James Marsdens: 3 (Anchorman 2, Walk of Shame, The Loft)

Lupita Nyong’os: 2 (12 Years a Slave, Non-Stop)

Keanu Reeveses (Keani?): 2 (47 Ronin, John Wick)

Christian Bales: 2 (American Hustle, Out of the Furnace)

Forest Whitakers: 2 (Out of the Furnace, Zulu)

Josh Brolins: 2 (Labor Day, Grauniads of the Galaxy)

Chris O’Dowds: 2 (Calvary, Cuban Fury)

Pierce Brosnans: 2 (The Long Way Down, Love Punch)

Dead dogs two

Dead fathers: 7 (including What We Did on Our Holiday)

So there you have it. Sneak in stats. Wooo.

Here’s the raw data. If you’re someone who’s very into that sort of thing, even just knowing the setting is a spoiler for at least one of these films.

Date Title Based on… Death Count Length (mins) Main setting Genre
06/01/14 47 Ronin Legend ~50 121 Japan Action
13/01/14 12 Years a Slave True Story 7 134 USA Biopic
20/01/14 Anchorman 2 Sequel 0 143 USA Comedy
27/01/14 Dallas Buyers Club True Story 1 120 USA Biopic
03/02/14 Saving Mr Banks True Story 0 125 USA Biopic
10/02/14 American Hustle True Story 0 138 USA Crime/Heist
17/02/14 Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Franchise ~20 105 Russia Thriller
24/02/14 Philomena True Story 0 98 Ireland Drama
03/03/14 August: Osage County Play 1 130 USA Drama
10/03/14 Non-Stop Original concept 5 106 Plane Thriller
17/03/14 The Long Way Down Book 0 96 UK Comedy
24/03/14 Out of the Furnace Original concept 7 116 USA Thriller
31/03/14 Sabotage Original concept 38 109 USA Action
07/04/14 3 Days to Kill Original concept 45 123 France Action
14/04/14 Labor Day Book 0 111 USA Drama
21/04/14 Zulu Book ~20 110 South Africa Thriller
28/04/14 Fruitvale Station True Story 1 90 USA Thriller
05/05/14 One Chance True Story 0 103 UK Biopic
12/05/14 Enemy Book 2 90 USA Thriller
19/05/14 Wolf Creek 2 Sequel 8 106 Australia Horror
26/05/14 Brick Mansions Remake 22 100 USA Action
02/06/14 Cuban Fury Original concept 0 98 UK Comedy
09/06/14 Walk of Shame Original concept 0 95 USA Comedy
16/06/14 The Grand Seduction Remake 0 113 Canada Comedy
23/06/14 The Young and Prodigious TS Spivet Book 0 105 USA Comedy
30/06/14 The Signal Original concept 0 97 Space Thriller
07/07/14 Jersey Boys True Story 1 134 USA Musical
14/07/14 Begin Again (Can a Song Save Your Life?) Original concept 0 105 USA Romcom
21/07/14 22 Jump Street Sequel 4 120 USA Comedy
28/07/14 Lucy Original concept 62 89 World trip Action
04/08/14 Hector and the Search for Happiness Book 0 120 World trip Comedy
11/08/14 Into the Storm Original concept 6 89 USA Disaster
18/08/14 A Most Wanted Man Book 0 122 Germany Thriller
25/08/14 Guardians of the Galaxy Comic book ~100 122 Space Action
01/09/14 Hercules Legend 534 98 Greece Action
08/09/14 Million Dollar Arm True Story 0 124 India Biopic
15/09/14 Wish I Was Here Original concept 1 106 USA Drama
22/09/14 This is Where I Leave You Original concept 1 103 USA Drama
29/09/14 Calvary Original concept 1 101 Ireland Drama
06/10/14 The Judge Original concept 1 141 USA Drama
13/10/14 The Love Punch Original concept 0 94 France Crime/Heist
20/10/14 What We Do In the Shadows Original concept 4 86 New Zealand Comedy
27/10/14 The Inbetweeners 2 Sequel 0 96 Australia Comedy
03/11/14 Before I Go To Sleep Book 1 92 UK Thriller
10/11/14 Walk Among the Tombstones Book 9 114 USA Thriller
17/11/14 What We Did on Our Holiday Original concept 1 95 UK Comedy
24/11/14 John Wick Original concept 84 101 USA Action
01/12/14 The Drop Original concept 2 106 USA Thriller
08/12/14 The Loft Remake 2 108 USA Thriller
15/12/14 Fury True Story ~200 135 Germany War

(Films marked “True Story” may be based on books or (in the case of Jersey Boys) a stage play. Death count figures derived from various websites and forums, from Wikipedia synopses, or sometimes just educated guessing. Run times are taken from IMDb. Genre and Setting are subjective, and some films straddle locations (eg. Million Dollar Arm, with roughly equal parts in India and the US) or genres (eg. What We Do in the Shadows, a horror comedy) – I picked the most interesting. Don’t rely on this data for anything serious!)

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