The Time Out film debate 2012 results

Your thoughts on films and filmgoing in 2012

Earlier this year, we asked our readers to join the Time Out Film Debate, exploring all aspects of films and filmgoing in 2012. Here we present a complete list of the results, from your popcorn preferences to how you really feel about Hollywood, from the state of British cinema to a list of nominations for the new James Bond...

© Ben Rowe

Going to the pictures

We asked all about your filmgoing habits, and the responses were largely as expected: cinemas are definitely too expensive; talking during the movie drives you crazy; there’s no consensus on the best kind of popcorn.

Only a minority really loathe the multiplex – perhaps some of our voters are too young to remember any alternative – and even though only one third of you are willing to fork out for a fancy cinema seat, that’s surely enough to keep those swish boutique cinemas in business.

  • Does the price of tickets put you off going to the cinema?

    64% Yes
    36% No

  • Do you hate multiplex cinemas?

    28% Yes
    72% No

  • What cinema habit do you find most annoying?

    10% Rustling wrappers
    24% Mobile phones
    44% Talking
    15% Seat kicking
    6% Other

  • Have you ever paid extra for a premium seat in the cinema?

    36% Yes
    65% No

  • Sweet or salted?

    21% Sweet
    30% Salted
    19% Mixed
    30% Hold the popcorn

The world of movies

This is where things started to get interesting. Almost two thirds of you think that the work the film writers at Time Out and elsewhere do is worthwhile – which means a lot to us, to be honest.

Just over half of you would consider downloading a film illegally – which could be bad news for the studios – but roughly the same proportion still care about awards ceremonies, so the mainstream film industry isn’t in real trouble yet.

A whopping 84 percent would go and see more foreign movies if they were on locally – but, and we don’t want to sound cynical, the box office figures don’t really back this up.

  • Do you care what film critics say?

    63% Yes, I respect and admire film critics
    9% No, they’re all useless blaggers
    28% No, but I don’t want to hurt Time Out’s feelings

  • Would you consider downloading a film illegally?

    52% Yes
    48% No

  • Would you watch more foreign language films if they were on at your local cinema?

    84% Yes
    16% No

  • Do you care who wins at the Oscars, Baftas and other film awards?

    53% Yes
    32% No
    15% No, but I watch them anyway because I enjoy watching famous people cry

  • Have you ever seen a remake that is better than the original?

    37% Yes
    63% No


The box office records prove that the British audience’s love affair with Hollywood continues unabated. But that doesn’t mean we’re happy to admit it: almost two thirds of you think Hollywood needs to try harder, and an even greater percentage feel that there’s too much digital imagery in movies and that 3D is a passing fad.

Forty-five percent of you have been stung by going to see a bad film starring someone you liked, and very few of you have any interest in future movies based on board games.

  • Is 3D a fad or is it here to stay?

    66% A fad
    34% Here to stay

  • Do filmmakers rely too much on Computer Generated Imagery (CGI)?

    68% Yes
    32% No

  • Has Hollywood lost its edge?

    61% Yes, they’re just churning out remakes and sequels
    22% No, I love a good Hollywood spectacle
    17% No, Hollywood never had an edge to begin with

  • Would you go and see a film simply because your favourite actor was in it (even if you’d heard it was bad)?

    55% Yes
    45% No

  • Which toy or board game would you most like to see a film of?

    9% Connect Four
    19% Snakes and Ladders
    5% The Yo-yo
    67% None of the above, I’d rather watch Béla Tarr films on loop for the rest of my life

The good, the bad and the ugly

Less than one third of you feel there’s too much violence on screen. A similar figure feel that there’s no limit to what can be depicted in a movie, and a mere 9 percent feel that there ought to be more censorship.

This speaks volumes about the liberal nature and open mindedness of Time Out’s readership – but does suggest that only a small proportion of you have seen ‘A Serbian Film’. It’s interesting, however, that you love Woody and loathe Mel – in pretty much exact proportions.

  • Is there too much violence on screen?

    29% Yes
    61% There’s just about the right amount
    9% Definitely not, a film without at least one beheading is a waste of time

  • Should there be more censorship of sex, violence and bad language?

    9% Yes, because the film industry doesn’t police itself strictly enough
    91% No, we should be able to decide for ourselves what we see

  • Is there a limit to what can and should be shown on screen?

    64% Yes
    36% No

  • Would you still go and see a film with Mel Gibson in it?

    36% Yes, he’s a fine actor and director
    64% No thanks, sugartits

  • Is it time for Woody Allen to call it a day?

    34% Yes, he should quit while he’s just about ahead
    65% No, he still comes up with the good stuff now and then

The home front

British film is in rude health, if these stats are anything to go by: 75 percent of you think our homegrown film scene is in good shape.

A very pleasing nine out of ten think that David Cameron was talking utter rubbish when he tried to stick his oar into the British Film Institute’s funding agenda, and even though 57 percent of you think that we could try a little bit harder to break out of the ‘Downton Abbey’/Guy Ritchie ghetto, the general sense is that we’re getting things right.

A recent Guardian article clearly got a few folks thinking about the first black Bond, and two thirds of you are already booking tickets for the scrap of the century. Posh fight!

  • Is the British film industry in good shape?

    35% Yes
    40% Yes, despite the best efforts of successive governments and Richard Curtis
    25% No, British Filmmakers need to try harder

  • Should the British Film Institute only finance ‘commercially successful pictures’?

    10% Yes, the taxpayer shouldn’t be expected to shell out for elitist arthouse weirdness
    28% No, artists can’t be expected to play to commercial interests
    62% No, because you never know what’s going to capture the public imagination

  • Does Britain produce too many films about frilly frocks and lairy Cockneys?

    57% Yes, we’re just playing on lazy steretypes
    43% No, and when Guy Ritchie finally makes a Jane Austin movie I’ll be happy as a clam

  • Who should be the next James Bond?

    6.1% Tom Hiddleston
    6.1% Tom Hardy
    7.9% Michael Fassbender
    8.5% Idris Elba
    3.5% Clive Owen
    7.1% Benedict Cumberbatch
    1.9% Christian Bale
    3.5% Keep Daniel Craig
    3.8% Don't care
    2.8% I should
    4.5% A woman
    44.3% Other

  • Who’d win in a fight, Benedict Cumberbatch or Tom Hiddleston?

    21% Cumberbatch, he looks like a right scrapper
    14% Hiddleston, he’d use his godlike powers to flatten Sherlock
    66% Neither, they’d just roll around on the ground cursing, but it’d be hilarious

All results have been rounded to the nearest full number where appropriate.

Highlights from the Time Out film debate 2012

  • Some questions in the Time Our film debate 2012 were more revealing than others, so we decided to take a closer look at those that yielded the most interesting results.

    Click here to view our gallery of interactive graphs and find out what we think your answers really mean.