How Many People Does It Take To Make A Movie?
“Film is a battleground”
Have you ever wondered just how many people it actually takes to make a movie? We’re here to answer that question! Well, as best as possible at least. It just might be more complicated than you initially thought. As always, if you’re looking to give your film career a post, you should create a free account with us! Now, let’s dive in.
How Many People Does it Take to Make a Movie?
For the sake of keeping things as simple as possible, we’re going to focus on feature-length films that you see in movie theatres. “Movie” can mean a lot of things, but not in this article! Even with that said, the number of people can vastly vary. We’ll do this Goldilocks style – start from a small movie, go to a massive movie, and finally settle in the middle.
Skeleton Crew Movies
Let’s first look at small scale. For this we’re going to pick a little film from 2009, Paranormal Activity. Now, this isn’t necessarily the smallest a crew can be, but there were a mere 40 people involved. 40 people! This movie made $193.4 million in USD. All that money from a budget of $15,000 USD. This happens to be the biggest ROI for any film. Ever. Horror films are generally very cheap to make, but still, that’s incredible. There are plenty of examples we could have picked from (we almost went with Blair Witch) but this just seemed like the best fit since it’s a record holder and fairly recent.
On a crew like this, you won’t be doing one task. I’m sure this project was full of swings (crew doing multiple positions). Basically, if something needed to get done, grab the nearest person and teach them how to do it.
Skeleton crews are actually the norm right now as productions start coming back since shutting down because of COVID -19.
Massive Blockbuster Films
Blockbuster (not the old franchise) movies! What’s more massive than the highest-grossing movie ever made? For this, we’ll look at Avengers: Endgame. This movie cost $356 million USD to make (that is 23733x the budget of Paranormal Activity) and made $2.798 billion USD (Only 14x more than Paranormal Activity!).
Want to guess how many people worked on it? I’ll give you a second to think of a number. Okay, got it in your head? 4000+. That’s a bit more than Paranormal Activity! 100x more to be exact (at least). Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find the exact number but this appears to be the best guess from various sources around the internet.
Average Feature Length
Finally, the average seems to be 588 people – thanks to this in-depth article. This article goes even further and averages out departments, producers, etc. If you’re interested in doing a deep dive into this subject, I’d suggest you check it out! What’s an average movie? Again, it all depends. Like most aspects of filmmaking, it’s constantly changing and there’s no black and white, right or wrong answer to most things. You can always count all of the names in the credits at the end of the movie if you’d like!
If you want to learn from a not-so-average director, check out this course from Martin Scorsese!
What's the Biggest Set You've Worked On?
In the end, film sets can be massive or just a handful of people. Now that you know how many people it takes to make a movie, what’s the biggest film set you’ve ever worked on? Let us know below! If you’re looking to get on more sets, you should check out our Key Membership and get daily local work notifications!