American movie titles: Now, with more punctuation!

Keanu Reaves: Actor!
Keanu Reaves: Actor!
Image: AP/Richard Shotwell
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What’s the best way to get people to to the theater? Sequels! Nearly a third of the top 100 grossing movies in the US in 2017 were sequels or prequels, compared with less than 10% in 2005—according to film data researcher Stephen Follows.

This has had a funny effect on movie titles: A lot more punctuation & special characters. The typical movie title in the 1980s had 0.13 punctuation marks and special characters… but in the 2010s these doubled to 0.25. There are an increasing number of movies with not just one, but two punctuation marks! Take, for example, John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum and Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!

All those sequels, prequels, remakes, and reboots sure make for a lot of colons, commas, dashes, and exclamation points!