Which Scripts Get Made? Here’s the Answer

Stephen Follows has crunched the numbers and come up with some excellent charts on what movies are getting made now and over the last 20 years. His discoveries are fascinating, and his charts make my inner-geek glow.

Follows writes:

This week I have been looking at the 100 highest grossing films for each of the last 20 years. This gave me a dataset of 2,000 films with which to answer a question from Tom Worth… “Can you crunch the data on the number of films that are original screenplays and those that are based on some other source?”

Here is what Follows found:


  • 51% of the top 2,000 films of the last 20 years were adaptations
  • The most common source for movie adaptations is literary fiction.
  • 2012 saw five times the number of sequels released compared to 1999
  • Romantic Comedy is the genre with the highest number of original screenplays (79%)
  • Only 16% of Musicals were original screenplays.
  • 18% of Horror films were remakes
  • Between 1994 and 2003, original screenplays outnumbered adaptations every year but one, whereas in the following decade (2004-2013) the opposite was true, with adaptations outnumbering original screenplays in eight of the ten years.

Across all films over the 20 year period, 51% of films were adaptations, 42% were original screenplays, and 7% were remakes.

This is great news for rom-com writers like myself. Stephen also shared this graph:


Head over to Stephen’s blog for several more insightful charts and figures like these. He’s got one particularly cool interactive chart that breaks down box office gross based on genre. Check it out!

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