13 Media Facts About Friday The 13th

One of the most feared days is upon us, but is it really an unlucky day for those of us in the world of media? Here are 13 facts to get you through the rest of today… hopefully unscathed.

  1. Friday the 13th has inspired one of the most successful film franchises - twelve movies, TV series, video games, books and merchandise, with international box office takings of almost US$467m. However, a much touted thirteenth film has had numerous false starts; the latest news is that it will come in 2020, 40 years after the original.
  2. The Hollywood sign was built on Friday 13th July 1923 – what started as a sign to advertise a housing development is now a pop culture icon and world-famous landmark.
  3. A book helped spawn superstition – in 1907 a novel called Friday, The Thirteenth by stockbroker Thomas Lawson told the tale of stock market manipulation that brings down Wall Street. In real life the New York stock exchange mini-crash on Friday 13th October 1989 is reported as the start of the early 1990’s recession.
  4. On Friday 13th November 2015 the most watched programme in Ireland was the Euro 2016 qualifier play off against Bosnia-Herzegovina – having taken the lead we eventually drew 1-1.  The RTE2 broadcast attracted 599,000 adults 15+, with 41% share of TV viewers; beating the usual Friday night favourite The Late Late Show. The good news continued the following week as we went on to qualify for the tournament in France.
  5. And speaking of The Late Late Show, while share of viewing has remained healthy over the last five Friday the 13th broadcasts (averaging 35-39%), they underperform versus the 41% programme average over the same period. The fear is real!
  6. Since 1995 Finland has dedicated one Friday 13th per year for an important promotional purpose – National Accident Day aims to raise awareness about safety in the home, in the workplace and on the roads.
  7. Alfred Hitchcock, one of the world’s most successful film directors, was born on Friday 13th August 1899. The master of suspense gave us thrillers such as The Birds, Vertigo, Rear Window and Psycho, although his first film project – Number 13 actually never got off the ground!
  8. Nintendo released the trailblazing Super Mario Bros video game on Friday 13th September 1985 – undoubtedly to take advantage of a day that more people choose to stay indoors!
  9. The 1992 film Alive starring Ethan Hawke was about a plane crash involving a Uruguayan rugby team which took place on Friday 13th October 1972, killing 31 people.
  10. Some of our favourite stars of the big and small screens were born on a Friday 13th – Steve Buscemi (Fargo, Boardwalk Empire), Christopher Plummer (Sound of Music, Up), and Julia Louise-Dreyfus (Seinfeld, Veep).   
  11. The “Friday the 13th” virus infected hundreds of IBM computers and caused a mini-meltdown in the UK on Friday 13th January 1989, resulting in a widespread computer crash - we've come to know and fear tech viruses ever since. 
  12. And one for the future - watch out on Friday 13th April 2029 as an asteroid is due to pass close to the earth… and while reported to be at a safe distance we are sure there will be plenty of sensational media headlines in the days prior.
  13. Should we leave it there? #superstition