Hello there. The internet asked, and we answered, for some reason.
“How many movies does Hollywood make a year?”
We didn’t just know the answer to the question from the get-go, of course, but after doing some extensive research online, we feel confident in providing guidelines and ballpark figures for how many movies come out of Hollywood each calendar year.
It’s actually a pretty complicated answer, so we’ll go through some other key information before really getting to the meat of it.
Also, please keep in mind that the release schedule for Hollywood movies is heavily skewed for multiple reasons. So we can’t simply look at any given month, count how many studio movies were released, and multiply the number by 12.
While studios don’t want to release too many movies during the same month, it’s also clear that certain months tend to result in better performance for certain types of movies, and these trends can vary from year to year as well.
Historically, the summer months have been popular times to release major “blockbuster” movies that are meant to attract millions of viewers.
In recent years, December, specifically the holiday season, has been a very popular time to release blockbusters as well.
Horror movies will probably perform better in October, unless there’s too much competition, in which case it might make more sense to release a horror movie in spring, when there might not be as many. But other studios might have the same idea, creating more competition during that month than usual.
And on top of that, every studio is constantly making adjustments to their planning and release schedule in the hopes of earning as much money from each movie as possible.
In other words, release timing is very complex, and production schedules are just as complex, with movies being cancelled or rushed or delayed indefinitely.
Still, we’ve done our best to answer the question for you. You’ll find all the info below.
Ok, let’s talk numbers.
This statistics site lists numbers for theatrically-released movies for the U.S. and Canada, from 2000 to 2020. Sources are listed on the linked webpage, but based on further research we’ve done on the topic, these yearly numbers do appear to be indicative of general averages for films released in the U.S. each year.
In 2012, 669 movies were released. In 2014, 708 movies were released. In 2019, 792 movies were released.
As you can see from the chart, there have been substantial shifts in the number of films released each year, with the most significant drop being 2020, during which only 329 movies were released in the U.S. and Canada.
But these numbers don’t necessarily answer the question of how many movies Hollywood makes each year. Setting aside the fact that the question technically sks about movies being made and not released, it’s difficult to nail down exactly how many movies come from each studio in a given year, apart from counting every single release from every single Hollywood studio.
And that’s not even considering potential arguments about which studios do and do not qualify as ‘Hollywood studios.’
Still, let’s see what others have to say about how many of these hundreds of movies released each year come from Hollywood.
How Many Are ‘Hollywood’ Movies?
Alright, so when people from outside Los Angeles use the word ‘Hollywood,’ they’re almost never referring to the actual Los Angeles neighborhood called Hollywood.
In the early part of the 20th century, the Hollywood neighborhood was indeed the center of the entertainment industry. Major studios had studio lots right in Hollywood, and that’s where they shot their movies.
But for outsiders, ‘Hollywood’ is often used to refer to all of Los Angeles or to the entertainment industry of the United States.
In the greater LA area, major studios now have studio lots and offices outside of the Hollywood neighborhood, such as in Burbank, northeast of Hollywood.
We’re bringing up the usage of the term ‘Hollywood’ because it’s important to explain that there is no set definition of what a ‘Hollywood studio’ is or isn’t, and it becomes even more complicated when you consider that major studios can also hire out production studios to actually make movies, and the big studio simply distributes those movies.
But we do have a ballpark figure of how many movie releases each year specifically come from studios that most people would consider to be Hollywood studios, like Paramount, Warner Bros., and Disney.
This fascinating Quora thread discusses how many movies released each year come from big studios.
The best estimate seems to be between 200 and 300 Hollywood movies during an average year of about 700 releases.
If we translate this to a percentage, we get 28%, so let’s be generous and say that ‘Hollywood studios’ release about ⅓ of the movies released in the U.S. and Canada each year.
During 2020, Hollywood released far fewer than 200 movies, since many productions were halted and releases delayed.
We apologize for not having an exact yearly number of Hollywood releases, but there are so many factors at play that exact numbers wouldn’t really help us predict future numbers of releases.
Generally speaking, Hollywood studios release a few hundred movies each year, less than half of the total number of movies released.
Also, not every release is a wide theatrical release; it might be a small indie film that only shows at one theater for a single weekend.
So for most people, most of the theatrical releases they hear about are big studio movies, which also have ample marketing budgets to make sure you hear about them.
International releases are another topic entirely. Generally, the number of total releases around the world per year is in the neighborhood of 2,000 – 3,000.
So Hollywood studios, whatever that term really means, only accounts for a small fraction of the total number of releases each year, but these studio movies also have far more money behind them than most.