Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2023

Thesis Advisor(s)

Dr. Lingling Wang, Professor

Honors Major



This study analyzes a comprehensive sample of 1,892 films from 2007-2019, looking at the relations between qualitative film factors and their profitability. I estimate profitability using public box office and production budget data as well as an estimated post-production marketing budget. The study investigates the role of three prevalent film factors in film box office performance: type of film, the Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) rating, and star power in the director’s chair or casting. Utilizing multivariate regressions and various means of robustness checks, this study whittles down what film factors have a tangible effect on ending financial performance. I find that sequel and prequel films are much more likely to earn a profit and generate significantly higher return on investment and profit margin, while the MPAA rating and star power have inconsistent to negligible correlations with film performance variables.