From M to Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, the length of a movie’s title can be very short or incredibly long. But with recent short-title hits like Hop and Rio, one fan wondered, does the length of a movie’s title have any correlation to its box office success? Mark Lee over at OverthinkingIt.com thought that sounded like a challenge and set out to answer the question. The results might not surprise you, but are still incredibly interesting.
The short answer is “No.” The length of a movie title has very little correlation to box office success. There are just as many movies with short titles as long titles that experienced success. To this point, here’s the first graph from OverthinkingIt.com where Lee took the 150 highest grossing films of the last ten years and plotted them according to the number of letters in their title.
Lee has also plotted those same movies based on how many letters are in each to show what the most common movie title lengths are.
Finally, he also checked to see if the length of a movie’s title has anything to do with its quality by plotting them with the IMDB rating. Again, no real correlation.
Here’s how Lee more or less summed it up:
Now, I know we’re all hoping for some sort of mind-blowing statistical discovery in movie title lengths, but after running through multiple regressions/data slices, I failed to find anything of note. No significant correlations could be found between movie title length and a variety of variables: box office take, MPAA rating, IMDB rating all turned up laughably poor results.
Even though the research didn’t produce any major finding, it’s still kind of awe-inspiring that someone took the time to mathematically figure it out. So, once again, a big thanks to Mark Lee and OverThinkingit.com for the fine work. Head over there for even more movie related data both on this subject and more.