Hollywood Ageism Debate: The Median Age of Actors in Top Grossing Films

Many people claim that Hollywood has an age discrimination problem. This is a very difficult accusation to prove. However, I was curious to find out if there was a correlation between age and box office success. So, I evaluated the top 100 all time highest grossing movies and the cast ages.

However, looking at age can be difficult with an ensemble casts. Some actors in ensemble cast can be much older than their counter parts. Take for instance, Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. Ian McKellen was 61 while the majority of cast were in the late 20s and 30s.

Median Age of Actors vs Average Age of Actors

To eliminate these outliers, the median age of the cast was used:

Median formula = {n+1}/2= nth value.

If we have an age spread in a cast of 5 ensemble actors from age 61 to 21. We can normalize the data set with the median instead of the average.
Here is the example of an age spread in an ensemble cast

61, 48, 37, 33, 23

Using this age spread, we would the average of the ages would be 42 while the median would 37.

From the data set that was used in this vizualization, the overall median age of all the blockbuster in this data set is 31.8. This data was sourced using IMDB

With the biggest outlier being Harrison Ford who was the star of Indian Jones and the Crystal Skull. He was 66 at the time of the films release and filming.
On the opposing side, the median age of the 3 main stars of Harry Potter were 12.

This data can easily be extracted using Excel. The source of this data was boxofficemojo.com

Check out Why Hollywood Won’t make NC-17 Films

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Gaelim Holland

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