Research Output

Is bigger better? Film success in small countries – the case of Scotland, Ireland and Denmark.

  Small European countries with low levels of film production might be expected to suffer from diseconomies of scale and other structural disadvantages that would tend to produce a lower ratio of ‘hits’ to ‘flops’ than larger countries. Analysis of Scottish, Irish and Danish data suggests that, despite significantly different levels of production, the distribution of ‘hits’ is in fact very similar and consistent with the Paretian distribution of audiences and revenues in major markets such as the United States and others. The skewed distribution of cinema audiences in Scotland, Ireland and Denmark appears to confirm the ‘scale independent’ importance of a small number of unpredictable high-performing ‘outliers’ in determining total and average audience/revenues. Analysis of overall production levels and aggregate audience share for domestic films in several small countries reveals a correlation that emerges once production exceeds a critical level. A predictive model of how revenues are distributed as production levels increase is tested. The implications of a consistent pattern of film success for film funding policy in small countries are discussed and avenues for further research suggested.

  • Date:

    31 May 2010

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    HB Economic Theory

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    330 Economics


MacPherson, R. (2010). Is bigger better? Film success in small countries – the case of Scotland, Ireland and Denmark



Film production; economics; finance; scale independent; audiences; revenues;

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