Market share evolution of sci-fi titles


Direwolf of the chrons
Aug 22, 2007
Hunting in the woods
The TV and book markets are mostly separate. Yes its true that major books can be made into films; and its also true that a major film can make a book and franchise popular.

However in general the patterns are not always unified. There have been a lot of major films based off books that didn't spark a huge surge in that books genre popularity. Events like Harry Potter are rare where both book and film markets are heavily influenced.

I would say that the reasons sci-fi is more popular in films is for a few reasons
1) Fantasy was done, its had its "big day" as such in the film industry and is currently in a lull where its got the odd film, but otherwise is mostly in the B movie and niche titles market.

2) Sci-fi is closer to marvel super-heroes at present so ties into current popular themes in the film industry in general

3) It's probably the case that big sci-fi films simply make more money; whilst cheaper end fantasy films don't with the exception of the Lord of the Rings. Indeed its actually quite the enigma, to me, that Lord of the Rings didn't spark a huge wave of copy-cat films in the same way Starwars did in its day and age.
I can only assume that too many directors/writers/producers saw Lord of the Rings work because it was "three films" as opposed to the content itself (a line of thinking that makes some sense if we consider how they tried ever so hard to pad out the Hobbit to make three films). And thus are unwilling to invest in big three film sagas to make fantasy work.

4) They've probably got lots of sci-fi sets and 3D models and all the rest so its likely seen as cheaper/easier to produce that than to go find and build a castle and do a fantasy flick

I honestly think we'll see fantasy return; I think the only thing holding it back right now is the glut of Marvel/DC films which are still doing really well. Until that candle burns out a bit I don't put huge hopes on fantasy returning. Esp if the other end of the scale are Bay films which want lots of explosions and big bangs and fast car chases with hot women (seemingly the fantasy world hasn't got big explosions and fast cart/chariot/horse/ races are obviously not as sexy as car races)

It could also be something as simple as risk. Fantasy is often seen involving horses and livestock. It might be that the associated costs and management coupled to a greater need for more scenes filmed with stunt doubles and actors who can't ride makes it too expensive to consider. Putting a few hundred thousand £ paid actor in a car with safety cages and roll bars is fine; on the back of an unpredictable animal in the middle of a film set - totally different ballgame.


I have my very own plant pot!
Jan 4, 2018
North-east England
I wonder if the lines between fantasy and sci-fi are even fuzzier on screen than in writing. Most of the big sci-fi films involve all sorts of fantasy tropes (the Force/magic, Jedis/wizards) and there are relatively few "hard" sci-fi films. Even something like Interstellar, which was pretty decent with a lot of the science, ended with an almost magical resolution.

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