Screenplays and Directors, Not Actors, Drive Critical and Financial Success of Films according to Study by S. Abraham Ravid

George Clooney may be the most bankable star in Hollywood, but when it comes to financial and critical success, studios are generally better served by placing their bets on Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese.

Movie stars are not indicative of a film’s success, according to research by Prof. S. Abraham Ravid.

New research conducted by S. Abraham Ravid, Sy Syms professor of finance at Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business, shows that directors and screenplays are the real drivers of both financial value and critical success of movies, rather than the film stars or special effects.

“I’m not saying that having Brad Pitt or Julia Roberts as the star of a film is a losing proposition,” said Ravid. “But it isn’t necessarily a winning one either.”

In analyzing 40 years (1971-2010) of Academy Award winners and nominees, Ravid explained that the screenplays for all films that have won the Oscar for Best Picture were also nominated for Best Screenplay—with one exception, Titanic. In three-quarters of these cases, the screenwriter also won Best Screenplay.

The history for directors shows similar success. The directors of all Best Picture awardees, except one (Driving Miss Daisy), were nominated for Oscars, with 83 percent of them bringing home the golden statuette. Read the rest of this entry…

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