Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Film

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Early "Reception" sections[edit]

We sometimes see anon IPs, for the most part, throwing up "Reception" sections days before a movie opens, and registered editors generally taking them down and saying it's too early, not enough reviews, not enough major-source reviews, etc.

Since the MOS doesn't address this, should we come up with a consensus on this, in order to avoid the time-consuming put-it-up-take-it-down? There are rare cases of high-profile movies where major newspapers release reviews a day or two early, but except for these once-every-year-or-two cases, is there any reason not to wait until a movie's release to put up a "Reception" section, the same as we do for the plot and the box office? I'm not sure a handful of pre-release reviews is statistically indicative of the final tally that comes on release day, and we're a not a news source that has to rush something out that's incomplete and, so, possibly inaccurate / misleading --Tenebrae (talk) 16:40, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

I agree with your viewpoint, but I'm not sure anything really needs to be added in the Film MOS. Other guidelines, policies and essays already address the issue from a broader perspective. Editors who knowingly or unknowingly do this need to be directed to WP:DUST, particularly the section "Write for history, not for the news". If a firmer backing is needed, WP:UNDUE can be referenced. Early viewpoints are not yet considered mainstream until more reviews are released. For major releases, semi-protection may reduce occurrences from inexperienced editors. --GoneIn60 (talk) 17:11, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
I think it is okay to summarize the early reviews where they exist, even before any kind of aggregation takes place. We just would not say something like, "Early reviews have been poor," without proper high-level sourcing. We would instead have each passage be distinct, and we would revise that section as more reviews come in. Maybe these first reviews will not be part of the consensus and can be relegated or removed entirely. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 17:18, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
To cite an example, I worked on The East (film) and added reviews from Variety and The Hollywood Reporter as seen here. This section changed in the next few days to what you see now. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 17:20, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
Documenting a rapidly changing event where details and viewpoints you're adding are likely to be updated in a short period of time does tend to go against WP:NOTNEWS and certainly the essay WP:DUST. Personally, I don't have a problem with it and wouldn't go out of my way to challenge it, but I could see why others might. --GoneIn60 (talk) 17:57, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
This is all good discussion. I was unaware of the essay WP:DUST and having read it, I like it. My experience, though, is that if you try to remove something based on an essay, the other editor usually says, "Well, that's just an essay so I don't have to listen to it," and then we're forced to debate the meaning of WP:UNDUE. And UPDUE doesn't necessarily carry, well, weight: There's an AfD going on at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film since film articles are cluttered with scores of insignificant awards like this film club's, and citing UNDUE doesn't help even though we're giving them equal weight as the Oscars, the Emmys, et al. That's why I'm thinking some nuanced consensus to address early review sections might be the most efficient thing. --Tenebrae (talk) 22:42, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
It is true that essays do not have the same status as policies and guidelines. However, some essays like WP:DUST are formed by experienced editors and are often referenced in consensus-building discussions. Heck, quite a few of Wikipedia's policies and guidelines started out as essays. So, a well-written essay shouldn't be completely discounted without a good reason explaining why. An editor who references one knows they have the support of at least one other editor (and likely more) – a position that is stronger than an opposing view which lacks substance and/or support.
WP:UNDUE is all about balance. A case can be made to exclude early reviews, since their level of acceptance is not yet known, and therefore relying on them may result in an inaccurate portrayal of a film's reception.
In the end, however, it probably isn't worth the time engaging when there are so many other issues that need attention (see the benefits of disengaging). Recent events generate a lot of activity from new users, and coming up with a consensus or guideline won't stem the tide of occurrences. In fact, reverting them may even have the undesirable effect of discouraging participation. --GoneIn60 (talk) 06:05, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
I find it tricky to apply WP:UNDUE in these cases. I find it arbitrary to say to keep out reviews until there is sourcing for a consensus because there are going to be some films that will not have many reviews, ever, much less sourcing for a consensus. One example that comes to mind is Sea Shadow (film), for which I found just two reviews from reliable sources. Obviously we cannot report a consensus, but since these reviews are authoritative ones from reliable sources, they should be used. So are we basically treating mainstream films differently in that we "know" there will be many more reviews in addition to the initial handful? I do not think WP:DUST applies here very well since it is talking about creating articles about current topics. I do understand the notion of writing for the long term and would say something like WP:PROSELINE applies better here. Wikipedia articles can afford to be dynamic. We wouldn't apply WP:DUST to say we cannot report a film's box office performance until its theatrical run is over. If we have reputable reviews early on, we can summarize each one from the get-go without indicating a consensus, and revise the article when/if more details emerge. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 16:27, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
Hi, Erik. I don't think anyone's suggesting we not have a Reception section once a movie opens, no matter how large or small a movie it is. If it's a small movie with only two reviews, we mention that rare circumstance.
The only question is, should we have a Reception section before a movie opens, or wait until the day of release, as we already do for the Plot and Box-office sections.--Tenebrae (talk) 16:39, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm not clear on why we should not have one if authoritative reviews are available. Is it still a matter of undue weight? Are we talking about before a public release as opposed to a film festival screening? Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 17:24, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── A Reception section of reviews after a film-festival screening is a different topic, and one that deserves its own focus.

For the majority of films, which aren't first screened at film festivals, a handful of pre-release reviews may not be statistically indicative of the final tally that comes on release day, and we're a not a news source that has to rush something out that may be incomplete and, so, possibly inaccurate / misleading. I'm not sure there's an upside to rushing, since encyclopedias are supposed to give the final word, not the tentative word. --Tenebrae (talk) 20:58, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

I don't find it to be a big concern. If an upcoming blockbuster film looks like the "Critical reception" section at Sea Shadow (film) for a few days, I'm fine with it because there's no significant viewpoint that has coalesced to judge by. If the reviews are authoritative and we make only individual attributions, I don't think it would mislead readers. We just present two individual and reliable opinions on the film, like we would with a released film with very few reviews (and too few to source a consensus). I'm not crazy about the notion of an embargo to withhold verifiable viewpoints. To use another example, Walking with Dinosaurs (film) was reviewed a week before its release. I added a couple of early reviews, so it looked like this at first. It grew in a matter of days, obviously. This way, readers can see what has been said about the film so far, rather than think, based on the article, that nothing at all has been said yet. Wikipedia should be written for the long run, but it does not mean we cannot be dynamic. I'll let others comment on this. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 21:54, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
As will I. I think this is a good example of two editors who can disagree respectfully and agree to turn the reins to others. --Tenebrae (talk) 14:28, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

Pre-release plot synopses[edit]

I'm currently involved in a dispute over at Godzilla (2014 film) over whether or not to include the synopsis released by the production companies of the film, and that got me thinking. Nowhere in the "Plot" section are pre-release summaries mentioned at all. I feel like this would be something very useful to include in the MOS, a standard guideline for summaries before a film comes out. I suggest that we don't actually create a subsection for the plot until the film is released, but perhaps we include a brief summary in the lead, the same as we do with already-released films. Thoughts? Corvoe (speak to me) 13:11, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

My preferred approach is to mention the synopsis in both the lead section and in a stand-alone section in the article body. After all, the lead section is largely a summary of the article body. I think it helps readers to be able to look in the same place where the plot summary normally is and to at least get an answer for what the film is about. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 13:30, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
I generally include the preview summary in a "Premise" section, until such time that it can be changed to the "Plot" section, being careful to take into account WP:COPYVIO and WP:PARAPHRASE. - Favre1fan93 (talk) 14:16, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
Also remember that unlike released work plot summaries - where anyone can validate the plot against the released work - unreleased works do not have that, so pre-release summaries do need to be sourced to material that has officially released; it's also one of the few places where WP:SPOILER applies - even if the film is leaked, the leak is not sufficient to write a plot summary on. --MASEM (t) 14:23, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
Maybe we don't need to update the plot summary guidelines specifically. Considering how temporary these elements are, maybe we could have a separate section dealing with upcoming films where we have a few bullets that talk about how to use the synopsis, verifying cast members, and writing in a neutral tone (especially before any independent assessment of said film). Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 15:59, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
FWIW, I'm in agreement with most everything here. "Premise" text should be both in lead and article body, since lead is a summary. (And good, subtle distinction: A premise isn't the same as a plot, though they can be similar.) Premise needs to be cited, mindful of copyvio and paraphrase. And it wouldn't hurt to specify this in the guidelines, along with the fact (given the phenomenon of casting rumors) that pre-release cast-member claims need citing and that Wikipedia disallows IMDb as a citable source. (I've found that the cast lists syndicated in The New York Times also can be wildly unreliable; has anyone else noticed this?) Neutral tone should go without saying, but then, so many things that should, do. --Tenebrae (talk) 17:03, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
I'm going to loop back to Erik's idea of the "Upcoming films" section. That could be immensely helpful. Corvoe (speak to me) 16:52, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

box office gross + infobox[edit]

Can I just clarify among other editors, in a film's infobox we do not use the inflation-adjusted gross for a film. It should only include the film's real gross from its theatrical run, preferably worldwide but domestic if that's the only gross available with sources. Correct? (talk) 12:42, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

Hello! Yes, that is correct. See Gone with the Wind (film) as a good example of this. We can use the article body to adjust for inflation, since we can explain the context (e.g., Gone with the Wind being the highest-grossing of all time when adjusted for inflation). Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 12:58, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

"Track listings for film scores are generally discouraged"[edit]

In light of a dispute about including the track listings almost six months ago[1] and a new dispute involving the same pro-inclusion editor[2] it seems worthwhile to ask whether the wording for this guideline should be strengthened, or whether the feeling is that the wording isn't the issue. The pro-inclusion editor specifically called out "discouraged" to argue in favor of inclusion. DonIago (talk) 15:33, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

I believe I included that part of the guidelines back then. To my recollection, I put "generally" because there may be cases where numerous tracks in a given soundtrack would be analyzed. In such cases, a track listing would be appropriate. Aside from that, a track listing can be considered rather indiscriminate, especially if all tracks are composed by the same person and the track names are generic scene names with no additional detail. I'm open to hearing what others have to say, though. Another approach could be to relegate "Soundtrack" sections to the end of an article (below all other sections) if the information is not quite important to the film. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 15:47, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
I think it is ok to list pre-existing music tracks used in the film but the problem with listing original "tracks" from a score is that they often don't really exist as identifible pieces of music; usually the labelling is arbitrary and sometimes later tracks can just be a reprise of an earlier track. I'm happy with the wording and am reluctant to have a rule set in stone though because I can think of plenty of counter-examples to the general rule such as musicals. Betty Logan (talk) 17:54, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
I guess my question then is, literal wording aside, is a legitimiate interpretation, "If the soundtrack's track listing is by and large a collection of arbitrarily-named non-lyrical tracks by a single composer, then it should not be included"? DonIago (talk) 18:50, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes, if there is no counter-argument to consider, such as its importance or commentary about the tracks. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 21:41, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Guidelines for upcoming films[edit]

Hello, I wanted to start a new section to put together guidelines for upcoming films. Considering how treatment of upcoming films is temporary and collective, I think it would be good to have a section in the MOS outlining some best practices. I am thinking that we could have several bullet points touching on different aspects. In the discussion above, there is interest in highlighting the best practice for coverage about a film's narrative before the film is released. So we can start with that:

  • An article about a film not yet available to the general public can have a stand-alone section briefly describing the film. This section, a precursor to a "Plot" section, should reference a reliable source. For example, a trade paper like Variety or The Hollywood Reporter can be cited in the section, which can be called "Premise". If the studio has released an official synopsis, it can be cited in the section, to be called "Synopsis". In either case, the text should be paraphrased whenever possible to convey an impartial tone to avoid appearing promotional. If the text cannot be paraphrased, provide in-text attribution in quoting directly and identifying the source.

I think we can also talk about requiring inline citations for cast members if WP:BURDEN applies. Some articles will not have much attention before release for this to matter, but in cases where an actor's involvement is questioned, inline citations should be applied. Also at WT:FILM, Favre1fan93 and Rilech like the idea of having "Development of" articles for films only in development where there is sufficient news coverage for a stand-alone article that will not be structured as a film article. Note that these should only be occasional exceptions to the notability guidelines for future films based on the level of encyclopedic detail. I'd like to hear what others think. Other bullet points to consider are present/past tense, box office forecasts, or structuring the opening sentence (e.g., to say "upcoming 2014 film" vs. "upcoming film" vs. "2014 film"). Feedback is welcome!

Thanks, Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 22:10, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

The way you wrote the new section is perfect, in my opinion. Covers all bases well.
I agree with the "Development of" conversation as well (I think my recent blunder at Ant-Man (film) is evidence of why that needs to be in play).
Finally, for the lead section. Personally, I think future films should be written in whatever tense it requires (release in future, most everything else in present), box office forecasts should be included and remain after the film releases, and "upcoming (year) film" should be the used terms. Corvoe (speak to me) 22:17, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
Here's my thoughts on everything you have presented Erik:
- For the text on "Premise", it should be linked somewhere to WP:COPYVIO and WP:PARAPHRASE and I think we should chose either "Premise" or "Synopsis". Many times, the trades are putting forth the official studio synopsis. To me, those are one in the same, and am personally partial to "Premise".
- I would like to see the inline citation bit added for the cast members. It takes any questioning out of it.
- For the "Development of" articles, I think that it can pretty much follow the structure of a normal film article to the best of its ability, because each case would be different, depending on the information released. For example, if one was created for the upcoming Batman/Superman film, it would have a "Cast", "Production", "Music", "Release" (or maybe marketing) and maybe something resembling a reception/reaction section. It is the title being "Development of" that would indicate that it is still a future film, that may or may not be made.
- Lead should be in the future tense until it is released, or in a case of a "Development of" page that it is confirmed it will no longer be going forward.
- I believe that the box office forecasts can have the option of staying on the page after it has released, as a way of comparison. Sourced commentary could be used to compare the predicted and the actual (ie it met or did not meet the predicted).
- Opening sentence should just be "upcoming film". - Favre1fan93 (talk) 01:11, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
@Favre1fan93: Thanks for the feedback! My responses:
  • I would be fine linking to WP:COPYVIO, but WP:PARAPHRASE is an essay. I think it's best to reference policies and general guidelines. Reviewing WP:COPYVIO, I actually think that WP:INTEXT covers quoting and paraphrasing: "In-text attribution should be used with direct speech (a source's words between quotation marks or as a block quotation); indirect speech (a source's words modified without quotation marks); and close paraphrasing."
  • As for "Premise" vs. "Synopsis", I think there are films where a synopsis is not available, at least not until marketing begins, so we can use early (and reliable) reports saying what the film is about. I guess I am thinking that "Synopsis" sounds official, but it does not have to be. We could commit to just "Synopsis" if others favor it.
  • I was thinking that a "Development of" article would not look like a film article. The core of a typical film article is the film itself, a tangible product (or the very likely expectation of one, if it is undergoing filming). The core of a "Development of" article is historical, meaning the consolidation of development history, without expectancy of a tangible product ever forthcoming. I would prefer such articles to be prose-based, meaning no infobox or cast list or film-related categories. This kind of article can be tricky with films in very active development, but I think it can apply well to covering the development history of something like The Dark Tower. Per WP:DUCK, if it's going to be a film article in all but name, then the prefix does not seem to make a real difference.
  • Regarding using "upcoming", the release situation may vary. Would we stop calling it "upcoming" if a film screens at a festival but won't be released commercially for a few months? If we leave out the expected release year, does it inconvenience the reader?
Thanks, Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 17:35, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
Response to Erik (most examples I pull from are from pages/experiences I work on):
- Sounds good. As long as COPYVIO is in there, because much of the time the synopsis is copyright material (much like preview summaries for upcoming television episodes).
- I question you on using reliable sources for the premise (maybe because I have not seen it). For Avengers: Age of Ultron, there are many reputable sources that have given what they think is the premise, based on the bits and pieces of casting/other news that has been released. But I wouldn't consider using that. Could you maybe give me an example of a situation where it could be used, just so I could see what you mean as a valid use of the reputable sources?
- I do agree that "Development of" articles should mainly be prose based, but I don't see the harm of having an infobox on the page. (Cast list, yes I think now should not be included as with film-related categories. A casting section could cover that material with prose.)
- For your first question, I believe upcoming should be present until it is released commercially, because additions/retractions could be made since its festival/premiere screening. I always go back to The Avengers on this, as it had its world premiere and immediately after, the cast went back to shoot the second post-credit screen. While not a major amount of reshooting, it still was additional material that had to be added to the cut of the film that was seen at the premiere. As for the next question, I believe it is not necessary because a proper article will have the release date in the lead for the reader. And if no release date/year is known, it still works because all we do know is that it is "upcoming". - Favre1fan93 (talk) 19:44, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
Tiger House is an example that references a non-synopsis source since its release is not for a while. I think the film infobox can be misleading because when filming has not started, none of the names are actually locked in for production. To be without it clearly emphasizes that it is a historical article (based on the compilation of development news over the years) and not a film article. As for using "upcoming", I don't really have any strong feelings on usage, and I don't know if there's been any real edit warring over that aspect, compared to others. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 20:09, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for the Tiger House example. I see what you mean. Though we do have to make it clear that that is a correct example, versus what I stated for the next Avengers, would not be a correct example. See this as an example of what I mean. I think the infobox would be a case by case basis, because I can see how, if a film is in constant flux, the names would change, but we also have the example of when Star Wars VII was at a "Development of", most of those names were locked. Could wording be added along the lines of "should a film be officially announced, at such a time the infobox can be added, while the page does not move to its proper title until filming has started."? I don't believe there has been any edit warring over "upcoming" that I am aware of, so if others chime in, we can craft it as we all see fit. - Favre1fan93 (talk) 20:23, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
Looping back slightly, I definitely agree that "Development of" articles should not include an infobox, for the same reasons as Erik. If a film is lost, that's fine, but a film that was never made technically doesn't have many of the parameters (basically, producer and writer would be the only two that could be correct-ish). That aside, I agree with Favre1fan93's wording for the "officially announced" bit with infobox inclusion unless the film ends up getting cancelled. For instance, if Fast & Furious 7 would have been cancelled after Paul Walker's death, I think that would've been moved to "Development of" and the infobox removed. Only semi-related, I think WP:UFILM and WP:UPCOMING could be used as shortcuts for whenever this section is finished.Corvoe (speak to me) 14:11, 5 May 2014 (UTC)

@Erik, Corvoe: Can we move forward with trying to craft this? It seems that we have agreement on most areas discussed, and if not, I don't think it would be to hard to iron out the kinks. - Favre1fan93 (talk) 21:26, 6 May 2014 (UTC)

Years in film[edit]

I really think we should develop a policy for the "Years in film" lists. There is a page for each year that lists all films released (or to be released) in the year, as well as important events to do with film in the year. However, these pages (at least the ones from 2011 forward) list the full cast and crew for each film, as well as the entire filmographies for each person in the "Notable deaths" section, which makes these pages very long and difficult to navigate in some cases. For instance, the page 2013 in film is currently 346,400 bytes without images, plus it can easily be 10 times longer since it only includes a small fraction of films in Category:2013 films. Since most of the content in these pages is the cast and crew for films and filmographies for notable deaths, I suggest developing a policy limiting the number of crew members listed for each film and limiting the number of works listed for each person in the "Notable deaths" section. I think that for films, listing all the director(s) and screenwriter(s) plus 3 of the main cast will be reasonable. For notable deaths, I believe that listting 3-5 works per person would be sufficient.

Aside from length, the release dates of films in these lists can also be unclear. The vast majority of films in the "Years in film" lists cite, as the source of information. Unfortunately, that site deals primarily with films released in the United States and do not have info for many films outside of the country. In addition, only gives US release dates for films, which are not always the films' first release dates. It's common practice to place films under their first release dates in "Years in film" lists, but because of the source that is most widely cited, most films end up getting placed under their US release dates. For example, most people recognize November 22, 2013 to be the release date of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (which is the date the film is placed under in 2013 in film). Nevertheless, its very first release date was actually November 11 at the world premiere in London. I think we should also make it a policy to go with films' first release dates when listing them in "Years in film". Eventhorizon51 (talk) 17:55, 26 April 2014 (UTC)

The "notable deaths" sections have become problematic. They used to include just a few films but in recent months editors have been adding entire filmographies. Personally I don't think they should include film credits, or at the very most should only list the first and final credit to indicate the span of the person's career. As for release dates, this has been previously discussed and as far as I am aware there is a standing consensus to list the film by the date of its first public exhibition i.e. the date listing should match up to the earliest date in the release field on the individual film articles. If MOS guidelines are created for these lists (which I think is a good idea) in addition I would like to see box office totals reflect the totals from that particular release i.e. 1997 in film should only list the box office total for Titanic from the 1997 release since the 2012 reissue technically has nothing to do with the 1997 release. Betty Logan (talk) 18:33, 26 April 2014 (UTC)
If a policy is developed for the "years in film" lists, I think it should be included in the "Lists" subsection of the "Guidelines for related topics" section. I actually think that some film credits should be given in the "Notable deaths" sections just so that their nobility is immediately apparent in the article. Credits, in my opinion, should definitely be given to first and final works of each person, and maybe one or two in between if they are especially well known or impactful. In addition to this, I think that the number of crew members in listed films should be limited to the director(s), screenwriter(s) and 3 actors/actresses. Could the policy be worded like this:
  • If a list of films has a section for cast and crew, only the director(s), screenwriter(s) and three of the main cast should be listed for each film. Avoid listing the entire cast, as this increases the length of lists considerably. In "years in film" articles, the list of notable deaths should only include each person's first and last works, and no more than three notable works during a person's career. Eventhorizon51 (talk) 16:22, 27 April 2014 (UTC)
  1. The notable deaths section should follow the same rationale on recent deaths, IE listing one or two films (and no more) per individual.
  2. Awards section - Why is the Critics' Choice Awards listed here? Drop this and possibly the Screen Actors Guild Awards too. If anything, the main awards for the Cannes Film Festival should be listed.
  3. Speaking of main awards, the last six listed awards should all be dropped as being trivial. "Wow! Gravity. How many Best Original Score awards did it win?!"
  4. Films - studio and genre seem excessive. I'd recommend dropping them both, or at least the genre field.

That should trim it down to make it a bit easier on the load time. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 17:02, 27 April 2014 (UTC)

I would oppose dropping the studio and genre columns. Those are basic, quick facts about films and do not lengthen the lists by a whole lot. What really needs to be trimmed is the number of cast members listed, as they make up quite a substantial portion of the list. Eventhorizon51 (talk) 23:56, 27 April 2014 (UTC)
For the genre, I'm guessing this has been the target for edit wars in the past (I've not checked, but it's a safe assumption). Maybe to ease the page-load time, I don't see any need to link to any of the terms in this column, so replacing 50 instances of [[drama film|drama]] with simply "drama" should do no harm. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 07:28, 28 April 2014 (UTC)
If you're only suggesting that the links in the genre section be dropped, I have no objections. But what about the number of cast members listed per film? I would highly recommend a policy being developed to limit those. Eventhorizon51 (talk) 23:57, 28 April 2014 (UTC)
Totally agree. How about this - only list the cast as you would per the infobox's starring field? This is limited to what's on the film poster/billing block. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 06:52, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Here's my .02: First, while I like the suggestion to make the number of actors mentioned a hard limit (like 3 per Eventhorizon51's original suggestion), that might be difficult in terms of an ensemble piece, like The Big Chill, so Lugnuts' later suggestion, about limiting it to the "infobox rule" would hopefully cut down the actors listed. Second, I also agree that you could cut the crew down to the director and the screenwriter. Third, I think you could drop the Film Critics Awards, other than that, I would keep the others, as they are the four main ones. There are others you could add, such as Cannes, Sundance, DGA, all of which have some importance in the industry, but you have to cut somewhere, and I think those 4 are the majors. Four, regarding genre, if edit wars are a concern, pick an industry standard to go by when declaring a genre (e.g. AFI), and limit genre selection that way. Fifth, I agree with using the same dates as the earliest release (we just went through that discussion regarding release dates in the infobox). Sixth, regarding notable deaths, I agree with the consenus here, although there I would limit the maximum number to 2 films - if they want more info, all they have to do is click on the page link for that person. However, I would change the format of the notable deaths to be able to sort it alphabetically, or by date. Onel5969 (talk) 12:08, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Should we have a subsection on this page for Years in film articles? I feel that many policies apply to those articles only. Eventhorizon51 (talk) 22:46, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes, it can be added to this part of the MOS once agreed. I think we have the outline of what we need to do already. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 07:36, 30 April 2014 (UTC)


OK, here's a go at a first draft. Please feel free to change any of what I've done:

  • For years in film articles, such as 2013 in film, please follow these guidelines:
  1. Always go by the films' earliest release date, whether it be at a film festival, a world premiere, a public release, or the release in the country or countries that produced the film, excluding sneak previews or screenings.
  2. List only the director, screenwriter and the main cast, as per the guidance in the starring field of the film infobox.
  3. For the deaths section, only list one or two of the most important works attributed to the individual, as per their listing on the recent deaths page.
  4. Do not pipe a link to the genre, simply add the relevant text.

I think that starts to address the main issues of the size of these pages. Thanks. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 10:45, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

I'm more or less ok with those. They would at least be an improvement on the current situation. Betty Logan (talk) 11:31, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Betty. @Eventhorizon51: - do you have any changes or additions to make? Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 11:42, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
I'm okay with those above, although I would add: "The listing date should be selected as per WP:FILMRELEASE." Onel5969 (talk) 13:44, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks! Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 18:24, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
I added a policy about release dates, just to reinforce the relese date policy as per WP:FILMRELEASE. Should there also be a policy for what films should be included in these lists? Or is it ok to include every film in each article's respective film category (eg. Category:2013 films)? Eventhorizon51 (talk) 23:22, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. Yes, I'd have the scope of any film in the relevant year category, and not to just fill the list with redlinks. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 07:22, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
Ok, I personally think the draft is ready to go in the MOS as a policy. If anyone else wants to add anything, feel free to do so. If not, then how do we establish a consensus so we can actually add this to the MOS? Eventhorizon51 (talk) 22:31, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks EH. I think we be bold and publish it, with anything that needs a discussion raised here. I'll await feedback on the point below and go ahead with the change over the weekend, unless there's a serious objection. Thanks for your help too! Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 09:45, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
I would suggest that the release date should only be its first release date in theaters not its premiere date. also I feel that the deaths section although it high I feel that only 2 films wouldn't be notable enough, if anything we should decide a limit like 5 or 10 films. Dman41689 (talk) 08:13, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
Why do you think it should be between 5 and 10? Two or three cover most individuals, as per the standard on the recent deaths page. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 09:44, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
Definitely publish it. We've already had the discussion elsewhere regarding the release date and reached a consensus that we should use the earliest date as per WP:FILMRELEASE (I, like Dman41689, was in favor of the actual release date, but that was not the decision, so we've made it, let's stick to it.) Regarding 2 vs. 5, I think you have to set a limit someplace. And while five might be appropriate for some, it would definitely be too many for others. Let's keep it simple. If the researcher wants more information, all they have to do is click on the pagelink. Onel5969 (talk) 12:50, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree that the notable deaths should have more then just 2 films I feel that 20 would be decent however that would be a little ridiculous 5 or 10 would be a better compromise. you have to understand that actors are know for more then 2 films also I have a very strong feeling that editors will fight over the 2 films that are put there, they already do that on the recent deaths pages. I also want to add (if you haven't already) the highest grossing films table should only be Rank, Film, Studio, and Worldwide gross. (you don't have to include the studio if it's too much) I noticed that on a lot of the pages before 2000 the charts have actors and directors in it which is pointless because they are listed below under the release date. Redsky89 (talk) 19:13, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
Since years in film articles only cover film related deaths, I actually agree that 2 films per person is too little. After all, those articles are supposed to cover more about film related deaths than Recent deaths. Nevertheless, I also think that 10 films is a bit excessive. I would suggest no more than 6 notable films per person. Remember, the notable deaths section should only list films for which each person is notable. If a film does not have a major role which the person plays in its production, then it should not be listed as a notable film for the person. Perhaps we can begin each person with the films listed in recent deaths, and add as editors feel necessary.
Regarding release dates, I think the release dates for years in film articles should be every film's very first release date, regardless of whether it's a premiere, in theaters, or any other means. Eventhorizon51 (talk) 04:08, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree with that. Wikipedia is not a consumer guide. We should go with the date it first plays to a public audience in some capacity. Betty Logan (talk) 04:34, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
Looking at the limit for films per deceased individual, if you look at Bob Hoskins recent death listing, only three films are listed. I don't see any evidence of edit-wars about that, or indeed, the need to replicate his filmography. Two or three notable examples per individual should suffice, with the reader being able to click on the link to find out more. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 10:30, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
Right, I've been bold and added the basics to the MOS. Started to time down the 2013 article accordingly. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 17:51, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

When should a film be included?[edit]

I was wondering when a film should be included on these lists at all. Right now the lists seem to consist mainly of films that received releases in theaters in the United States. What about films that were released only in other countries, or films shown at film festivals but without a release in theaters so far? Also, I was asking over at Talk:2014 in film whether a film that gets a festival showing in one year and then a theatrical release in another year (e.g., Belle (2013 film)) should be listed on the list for the year where it was first shown at festivals even though it didn't get a real theatrical release that year. It would seem odd to me to list a film on a yearly list when it wasn't shown in theaters to a general audience until a later year, but it would also seem wrong to list it on the later year's list when it premiered in an earlier year. Calathan (talk) 19:01, 5 May 2014 (UTC)

WP:FILMYEAR should answer your second question. As for which films should be admitted to the list then in theory any released film that has an article should be accepted. If the list becomes too big then sub-lists can always be created. Betty Logan (talk) 00:49, 6 May 2014 (UTC)
WP:FILMYEAR doesn't answer my second question, and in fact the point of my comments was to try to help write that section (isn't that the point of this whole discussion)? Maybe I should have worded my comments more as statements than as questions. Basically, while I agree with most of what is currently in WP:FILMYEAR, I still felt it seemed odd to list a film in a different year than when it received its first theatrical release (i.e., release other than festivals and similar special showings). I'm also not really sure that the first date a film was shown is any more important or encyclopedic than when it was first released in theaters. To me listing the film under either date by itself just doesn't seem right. I would prefer both dates to be given in some way, but obviously that would involve major changes to the tables. While I like all the information currently in the tables, I think the theatrical release date is more important than things like genres, and if we could fit it in that would be an improvement . . . but I don't see any easy way to fit it in without removing other information. About listing all films from a year and splitting the lists if they become too big, in a previous discussion a couple years ago I suggested having separate lists by country. Now that I check, there actually are such lists (e.g., List of American films of 2014, List of Japanese films of 2014, List of Bollywood films of 2014). As I commented in that past discussion, I think having a yearly article for every film from every country wouldn't be very useful to most readers, since I think readers would be most concerned with films from their own country. However, given that there are lists for individual countries, it might be alright to list every film in the main list. I think it might make more sense though to just remove the list of films from the main yearly lists and instead link to each of the relevant lists for other countries for that year (obviously, that would be a big change to the main lists). Calathan (talk) 01:45, 6 May 2014 (UTC)
Films that are already listed in country-specific lists, like List of Japanese films of 2014 should not be listed in "Year in film" articles like 2014 in film. Not only is it an unnecessary duplication, the resulting list would be too long. These articles should also have more info on major national and international awards and on industry statistics, like the ones on film industry.--Cattus talk 19:18, 6 May 2014 (UTC)
I support separating films into lists by language or country of origin, but in that case I believe American or English-language films should be classified in a similar sublist, "List of American films of 2014" and so on. Why does Hollywood get to be the only ones on a list with a title as authoritative as "2014 in film"? It implies that say, Japanese films are not worthy of being considered equal of Hollywood films and must be ghettoised into their own "Japanese" list. In my opinion, 2014 in film should either include all at once, or be a list of sublists. Otherwise, it is akin to renaming the article on "English literature" to merely "Literature", or renaming "American history" to merely "History" and assuming that most English-speakers would only be interested in Anglosphere topics. Sabre (talk) 04:46, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree with your sentiments. Either all films are divided up into sub-lists or they should all be included on the main list. No single country or industry should be priortised above another since that would violate WP:NPOV. Betty Logan (talk) 05:24, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
In theory, years in film articles should include every film in the world released in their year. I think current years in film articles give undue weight to Hollywood simply because this is the English wikipedia and a substantial number of contributors here are from the United States. Ideally, every film in Category:2012 films should be included in 2012 in film, but Hollywood always receives the most attention because of the nationality of this wikipedia's contributors. Whether or not films should be split into lists by country is open to debate, but if they are all included in one main list, every film, regardless of origin, should be included. Eventhorizon51 (talk) 00:58, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
I think that is right, Eventhorizon. We shouldn't have a prejudice as to which films we include and that means we need to include them all. In practice, however, that is going to be challenging, since the category Category:2012 films has over 2000 film articles. We would either need to cut back to listing the bare minimum in these lists, i.e. the title only, create a separate article that hosts the listing of films, or allow the list to be broken into regional lists. Since we already have articles like List of Japanese films of 2012 and List of American films of 2012, I believe it would be more feasible to allow the list to be represented by the smaller articles. BOVINEBOY2008 12:56, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
A mix could work: a "bare minimum" approach on the main list, and add all the extra stuff to the sub-lists. Betty Logan (talk) 13:59, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
Wouldn't a link to the category be sufficient for the "bare minimum" list? BOVINEBOY2008 17:00, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
Well, if you've got complete sub-lists to link to then you don't really need to link to the categories. I'm just putting it forward as a suggestion for those editors who'd prefer to include all the films in a single article. I don't think it's necessary to list the films twice but it's there as an option. Betty Logan (talk) 18:02, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
Pretty much all main film producing countries have either lists by year like List of Japanese films of 2014, or lists by decade like List of Portuguese films of the 2010s that are usually divided by year. And in recent years, as has been said, there are over 2000 film articles per year (the most seems to be 2008 with 2,482). This is too much for a single article; if the lists are kept and include all films, the recent years need to be split into something like List of films released in January–March 2014, etc. Cattus talk 21:33, 17 May 2014 (UTC)

Highest-grossing films list[edit]

I thought this section would be a good place to discuss this topic since we're already on the subject of creating article policies. What guidelines should we implement for the highest-grossing films sections that lead these articles? How many films (and their box office grosses) should be included? Top 10? 20? 50? I noticed that countless articles (from 1979 and back) have a very arbitrary inclusion of films (some have lists between 20-30, while the 1979 one in particular has a whopping 40 films included. What should be the necessary cut-off point? I suggest that we keep these lists at just 10, which is what we already do for modern years (e.g. 2013 in film) ~ Jedi94 (Want to tell me something?) 01:45, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

I agree with keeping it at 10 films. I also believe it should be the top 10 for that year too, since re-release money doesn't come from that year's release. If you take 1977 in film for example, over half that gross for Star Wars came from reissues so it doesn't provide a fair comparison for that release window. Betty Logan (talk) 02:13, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
I have already implemented such changes on the articles from 1980-1999. I'll begin work shortly on the 1970s articles, keeping in mind your suggestion that the displayed box office grosses should be of that year only, and not include any subsequent and/or lifetime grosses. ~ Jedi94 (Want to tell me something?) 22:59, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
The lists of top grossing films on the pages of 1961 in film through 1979 in film are ALL my own edits. Deleting large amounts of content from these articles are NOT the least bit constructive. Those pages represent countless hours of my own research and editing and it's literally being obliterated due to a few people's own preference for "neatness". It's not a reason that justifies deleting large amounts of content on Wikipedia as there is no regulation or guideline that dictates a predetermined number. Providing this information in such detail in fact exposes readers to lesser known films (and hence Wikipedia articles) from those years that have been forgotten in the passage of time and helps to shape the readers' understanding of what the movie going trends were during those years. That information helps to shape one's understanding of the political and social zeitgeist of those respective time periods, which is critical in understanding the history of film which reflects that social atmosphere. Not to mention, implementing large deletions of content because it looks "prettier" is inverse to the goal of this online encyclopedia which is to inform. ~ Ldavid1985 15:31, 29 May 2014
Sticking to a top 10 is more than just an aesthetic issue, it increases the accuracy of the charts. In most cases our only reference point is Variety's annual published top tens so by sticking to a top 10 we have a reference point for what should be included. The ordering may change a bit because we have replaced the studio gross with the exhibitor gross, but the key point is that the Variety lists at least tells us which films more or less make the cut. Take 1973 in film for instance: a couple of years back you removed The Devil in Miss Jones from the chart even though it was verifiably one of the highest films of the year, charting between Paper Moon and Serpico in Variety's rankings. I restored it because I was able to demonstrate using Variety's top 10 that it was among the highest-grossing films of the year. The basis for you removing it was simply because the exhibitor gross wasn't available, and by doing so you made the chart inaccurate. Just imagine, for example, if we only knew the studio gross and not the exhibitor gross of Star Wars, despite it being the highest-grossing film ever at that point; under that logic Star Wars would be removed completely from the chart. Once you get beyond the top 10 there is no guarantee that you have included all the films that should be there since these rankings are actually based entirely on what information you have been able to find. Betty Logan (talk) 21:24, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Betty hit the nail right on the head. It isn't just about aesthetics or consistency, accuracy is a strong focal point behind keeping the lists at the top 10.
Keep in mind Ldavid1985, that just because you contributed immensely to these articles, no one owns any content on Wikipedia and any editor is free to challenge and/or edit submitted article content, regardless of the costs the contributing editor took. Most editors on Wikipedia have had their share of these experiences (I certainly have), but never should you let that possessive belief of personal sacrifice interfere with the quality of an article or with consensus. However, since these particular contributions carry some merit and undoubtedly took a lot of time and effort on your part, we are therefore here discussing the issue civilly, so that a more defined consensus can be reached. ~ Jedi94 (Want to tell me something?) 22:26, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
It should be a top 10 only and should only include the Rank, Title, Studio, and Worldwide Gross. Dman41689 (talk) 16:32, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

The science of categorizing something as a 3D film in the lead of every film article[edit]

In the past few years film companies have been filming, marketing, and releasing 3D versions of their films. These films have been released in both traditional 2D and in the less traditional 3D. The reason they do so are irrelevant for this discussion. What is relevant for this discussion is that for some reason many film articles have used the descriptor "3D" very early in the lead paragraph. Examples include Frozen (2013 film), Despicable Me 2, Monsters University, Gravity (film), Ice Age: Continental Drift, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, Men in Black 3, The Croods, ext. Most of these articles are about films that were made with CGI, but not all of them. Some film articles about films that were given 3D releases as well do not say 3D in the lead, such as Avatar (2009 film), Oz the Great and Powerful and Star Trek Into Darkness.

My question is, should these articles be called 3D films in the lead if they only had some 3D screenings while other screenings were in 2D? These films do not satisfy the criteria of a true 3D film such as Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over or Jaws 3-D or any of the 1950's style 3D films that were meant to be screened in 3D at all theaters and on all screens. And another question would be, if we describe them as 3D in the lead shouldn't they be described as 2D as well since they were also released in 2D? Now obviously there should be a section in the article discussing the 3D release and even a mention in the lead, but using it as a description of the film, they way it is portrayed now in some articles, probably isn't the best way to go.

I suggest that there should be a sentence in this MOS that describes the use of 3D as a descriptor at MOS:FILM#Lead section that says, "Only films that were given a wide release in theaters should be described as 3D in the lead paragraph."--JOJ Hutton 13:07, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

The 3D used for the animation films listed are intended to describe the type of animation used, not the way it was released. Thus Frozen uses it correctly, where Gravity does not. I don't necessarily agree with updated wording you have chosen, but if a film just releases in 3D, then that should be kept until the end of the lead, where other release formats are covered, such as done with Oz. - Favre1fan93 (talk) 13:31, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
Those animated films are called "Computer Generated Image" or CGI films, not 3D. At least not the traditional definition of 3D. Those animated films were produced from 3D models on the computer, but are not really 3D films as they are defined and linked in the articles. Thats were the confusion lies. Its in the 3D models used on the computer and not in the way the film is viewed.--JOJ Hutton 14:40, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
Ah. I see that 3D is still linked to 3D film in those animation instances. So yes, with those as well, it should not be at the beginning of the lead, because "computer-animated" covers the type of animation used. - Favre1fan93 (talk) 16:04, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
Thank you. Thats what I thought as well, but I did see where you were coming from in your previous argument.--JOJ Hutton 16:08, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
The addition you are looking to make should be along the lines of this, to the first few sentences: "At minimum, the opening sentence should identify the title of the film, the year of its public release, and the primary genre or sub-genre under which it is verifiably classified, with release formats saved for a later paragraph along with any other relevant release info." - Favre1fan93 (talk) 16:18, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
I've got no problem with that wording. The point being, from my perspective, that needlessly categorizing films by format should be strictly avoided. My only concern is that it should be worded in such a way that it will leave absolutely no doubt as to its meaning and won't be overly interpreted 2 years from now.--JOJ Hutton 16:34, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

Lost films[edit]

Films with prints that still exist use the modifier "is", but is there something that says that films the no longer have known prints, or "lost" films, should use the modifier "was"?JOJ Hutton 17:43, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

Please see this discussion and WP:TENSE. Thanks. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 18:17, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

Lists of films by country[edit]

How should lists such as List of American films of 2013 and List of Japanese films of 2013 be sorted? Right now, some of these film lists are sorted by release date, whereas others are sorted alphabetically. I personally think we should add a policy to sort these lists by release date, as these articles are chronological in nature. Either way, shouldn't these lists be as least sorted the same way to reduce confusion and inconsistency? Would it be ok to add a guideline for how we should sort these lists? Eventhorizon51 (talk) 15:26, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

I think we should sort by the title because it's the first column in the table and because I don't think the release date sorting is higher priority than that. (It also makes it consistent with the year-film categorizing, but is more powerful because there is an option to sort by release date.) Open to hearing what others think, though. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 15:45, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
Title isn't always the first column. The Japanese one mentioned above, along with many others, have release date as the first column. Eventhorizon51 (talk) 15:58, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough, I did not see the second list. I still think it is a common convention to put the title in the first column and that is what we should implement across these list articles. If there are editors who think it should be by "Opening", you can ping them here of this discussion. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 16:08, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
I would be against adding a guideline of this nature. The purpose of the MOS is to encourage good editing practises, not to make editorial decisions which this plainly is. Sorting by title or by date both have their merits but neither are fundamentally the correct or incorrect way, so if there is a dispute or editors wish to adopt a consistent format across all the year lists then the Film project talk page is the place to discuss this. One suggestion I will make though off the cuff is to make all tables sortable by date and title, and then readers aren't locked in to just one sorting system. Betty Logan (talk) 17:20, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
Betty, I think the question is which should be the default sort. I'm fine with having both title and date sortable. It's just a matter of what should be the initial sorting. It would help to establish this initial sorting across the same set of lists, but the users can re-sort the other way however they please. Eventhorizon51, is that what you're asking? Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 17:25, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
I know what he is saying, I just disagree that it's an issue. Both methods are fine so it's basically down to editorial discretion as far as I can see, and making the tables fully sortable turns it into moot point anyway. Betty Logan (talk) 18:02, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
Yes Erik, that is what I'm asking. I just checked the lists of American films, and the tables there are all sortable. However, this is not true for every film producing country. Also, the format of these lists also differs for lists for different countries; some have film titles as the first column, and others have release date first. Should we implement a policy to secure the format so it's the same for all countries? Eventhorizon51 (talk) 18:15, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

Additional instructions for the lead section[edit]

Some where between '06 and '08 links like [[2004 in film|2004]] were deprecated. I would suggest that we add wording to the lead section to make this clear to new (and experienced for that matter) editors. It is so long ago that I do not know where the relevant discussions took place but I think that it may have been in another wikiproject or even the WP:MOS itself. If anyone can dig them out of the archives perhaps we can add a link to them if any questions come up. Any other input on this will be appreciated. MarnetteD|Talk 15:55, 23 August 2014 (UTC)