‘Forrest Gump,’ ‘Mary Poppins’ Among Top ‘Feel-Good’ Movie Purchases, Rentals in the U.K.

Looking to jumpstart retail sales of movies in the United Kingdom, a new study commissioned by the Entertainment Retailers Association found that Oscar-winning Forrest Gump is the nation’s favorite feel good film for comfort, escapism and to positively boost moods. The drama is followed by classics such as sci-fi comedy, Back to the Future and family favorite, Mary Poppins.

The nationwide research of 2,000 adults done in April and commissioned for the ERA’s “Must See #FilmsWithFeels” campaign, found that nearly a third (31%) of adults use movies to escape from their real world worries. Over a quarter (26%) of Brits also stated they regularly watch comforting films on a Sunday, to distract them from stresses about the busy week ahead.

Psychologist Cliff Arnell, who analyzed the findings, said the combined 57 years between the theatrical releases of Gump, Future andPoppinsunderscores the fact the films have become cross-generational in their appeal.

“[This is] a powerful positive motive to watch a film again,” said Arnell. “Taking the time to watch an uplifting film, is one of the easiest ways of escaping from [stress]. Giving ourselves permission to switch off our worry buttons and have our imagination buttons pressed is highly therapeutic.”

It’s not always films with happy endings that provide that warm feeling. The study found 11% of Brits confessed to feeling happier after a tear-jerker such as Marley and Me.

“When people say they connect with a film, there’s a resonance between their own lives and something that is happening on the screen. Seeing it, hearing it and most of all feeling this can have powerful effects on our attitudes and behaviors,” Arnell said.

UK’s Top 10 ultimate feel good films:

  1. Forrest Gump (29%)
  2. Back to the Future (25%)
  3. Mary Poppins (25%)
  4. Sister Act (22%)
  5. Marley & Me (18%)
  6. School of Rock (16%)
  7. Beauty and the Beast (live action) (13%)
  8. Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (13%)
  9. The Blues Brothers (12%)
  10. The Breakfast Club (12%)

Top 10 family favorite feel good films

  1. Toy Story (40%)
  2. Mrs Doubtfire (32%)
  3. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (31%)
  4. (29%)
  5. Sound of Music (20%)
  6. Paddington (19%)
  7. Minions (17%)
  8. Finding Dory (16%)
  9. Oliver (13%)
  10. The BFG (12%)

Top 10 re-watchable films

  1. Dirty Dancing (26%)
  2. Grease (25%)
  3. Bridget Jones’s Diary (24%
  4. Four Weddings & a Funeral (17%)
  5. Notting Hill (16%)
  6. Bridesmaids (16%)
  7. Mean Girls (15%)
  8. Pitch Perfect (15%)
  9. PS I Love You (12%)
  10. Magic Mike (10%)

Top 10 comedies

  1. Life of Brian (23%)
  2. American Pie (23%)
  3. The Hangover (22%)
  4. The Fully Monty (21%)
  5. Cool Runnings (20%)
  6. Airplane (19%)
  7. Shaun of the Dead (18%)
  8. Ted (17%)
  9. Ghostbusters (16%)
  10. Dirty Grandpa (11%)