Where Are Movies Made?

Mainly the US, as one would expect.  As in the post What Are Movies About, I looked at the IMDB databases to find out in what countries movies get made.  I took their list of titles and removed works marked as Adult, Documentary, News, Game, and TV.  I also removed titles with less than 5 ratings votes, since there’s a lot of unwatched stuff in there, especially in recent years with the rise of cheap digital cameras.

That left me with 139,200 movies from 174 countries.   The US accounts for 44,704 of them, about 1/3, while only 1 movie has ever been made in Guyana, Antigua, Faroe Islands, Maldives, Belize, Libya, Samoa, Macao, Suriname, Oman, Guadeloupe, Central African Republic, El Salvador, United States Minor Outlying Islands, Brunei, Fiji, Yemen, Liberia, Reunion, and Burma.  Lichenstein and Vatican City don’t ever seem to have had a movie made in them.  Here’s how the top countries look:


Click for spreadsheet

I hope you’ll pardon the log scale, but the range here is so wide that it’s the only way to fit everyone in.  The top few here are the usual suspects – the leading cultural producers of the world.   It’s odd that China is so far down, just below Iran, but Hong Kong makes up for them in cinematic industriousness.  It’s small surprise that the US is so high; it started first, and has about 1/3 of the population of the developed world.    Let’s derate by population to see who is really into films:

Movies_made_per_million_inhabitantsThe Scandinavians seem to really like to make movies!  Iceland, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway are all way up there.  Long winter nights resemble sitting in a dark theater, I suppose.

Finally, how has the number of movies made changed through the years?


The US movie industry really slumped in the mid-50s when television came in.  The Russians got hammered when they lost their empire in the 90s.  It’s a bit hard to see, but France actually made more movies than the US before WW I, when they became otherwise occupied.  Ditto Germany and Japan in the 1940s.

Today about 4500 movies get made world-wide each year, about 12 a day.   Here – Movie_titles_2012 – is a list of all the titles for 2012, sorted by the number of IMDB votes for each.  At 1.5 hours each, you could just barely see them all if you spent every waking hour watching and only got 6 hours of sleep.  That’s pretty infeasible, but it would be possible to see all of the 1600 US movies made each year.  That’s about 4.5 a day, but that would be a severe test of sanity!

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10 Responses to Where Are Movies Made?

  1. julieb7 says:

    The fact that you researched this boggles my mind. And the off the wall charts; it absolutely tickles me to bits. Not only that, but relieves me from the worry that my own petty obsessions will overtake me. I can’t compare. Should you decide to go at some other topic, I’m certainly up for the read. Thanks.

  2. S Kabud says:

    All together we have close to 150 000 movies already made. A person leaves ..say 80- years. 365 days by 80 is close to 30 000. Every day one movie to watch and you will never see even 1% of movies that will be made when one is going to pass away. Hollywood made around 40% of all of the movies. I bet there are at least several thousands of excellent masterpieces made by Hollywood or what else we have in USA for movie making)) Sundance?:)))

  3. julieb7 says:

    Have you considered that the Tamil, Hindi and Punjabi film markets are all w/in the Indian film market? Normally I find Hindis listed on IMDB (though I do wish they would show more consistency and interest in using the site as a tool), but Tamil movies not so much. As for the Punjabi film industry, I’m uncertain.

    • S Kabud says:

      well, they are negligible in a big picture : too little of them are made, quality is too low, they have zero global appeal. I would suggest to place them in a special sort of a genre because compared to the global film industry it is something different. More like in between movies and video clips of prolonged timing, I dont know. Me myself i do not watch as many movies lately and switched to more of the tv series , also a different genre. MOvies may be dying out because there are more masterpieces already made then any one has life expectancy to watch them

    • jlredford says:

      It would be interesting to see how Indian films break down by region, but I don’t think IMDB would be much help, since their only region keyword is the country. Even the language wouldn’t help much, since many films appear to be released in several Indian languages at once. Perhaps there are more detailed databases in India itself.

      • S Kabud says:

        India is one of the leaders in numbers per year but it is only 5 % of what is released in USA and slightly less then in Canada

        No. of Movies Average Production Budget Total Worldwide Box Office
        India 425 $7,679,808 $2,128,393,733

      • jlredford says:

        Thanks for pointing to that page! I don’t know where they get their numbers from, though. The number for India, 425, looks like the production in one year, but the number for the US, 9834, is way too high for one year. The worldwide gross for US movies, $404 billion, is also way too high. Both numbers look off by a factor of 10. They do say that this is the beta version, though.

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  5. Ted Strauss says:

    Kudos for preparing this research.
    Were there any other blog posts related to this data set you could link to here?
    Btw, I came here through your quora answer – https://www.quora.com/How-many-films-have-been-made-in-Hollywood-so-far

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