Which film characters have inspired the most newborn names?
From video games to climbing frames, children play with a variety of different toys. The classics are often action figures and costumes from characters seen in their favourite movies, but some children can do more than just dress up after their favourite characters, as some are actually named after them!
Parents find inspiration from a variety of things when it comes to the important job of naming their child, whether it be from their family history, personal experiences, or even their favourite film characters.
To discover which films had the biggest influence on newborn names from year to year, at Outdoor Toys we've taken a deep dive into baby name data from the UK and the US to discover which movies had the biggest influence on expecting parents’ baby name lists.
Most influential movie character names in the UK
To discover each movie's impact on the naming of children in the United Kingdom, we looked at the total number of babies with the same name as the character the year before and after the film's release, if no babies were named the same as the character before the films release then a nominal value of one was attributed to calculate percentage increase. It would appear that action movie characters had the biggest impact, as all of the top three most influential names were the main characters in that genre of film.
1. Baby Name - Kylo
Character Name - Kylo Ren (Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens)
5,300% increase in baby names after the film was released
Despite being the force-wielding villain when Star Wars returned to cinema screens in 2015, the character of Kylo Ren became an instant fan favourite and has had a great influence on the naming of newborns. In 2014 only a handful of babies named Kylo were born in the UK, but in 2016 there was a rise to 54, resulting in a huge 5,300% increase!
2. Baby Name - Neo
Character Name - Neo (The Matrix)
4,700% increase in baby names after the film was released
When The Matrix was released in 1999 it was revolutionary for the sci-fi genre and the movie industry as a whole. The film was iconic from its action to its outfits, and even baby names. Keanu Reeves' Neo is the hero of the film, and after its release, 48 new babies were named after the character.
3. Baby Name - Maximus
Character Name - Maximus Decimus Meridius (Gladiator)
2,750% increase in baby names after the film was released
‘Are you not entertained’! When Russell Crowe delivered this iconic line he cemented the character Maximus into the public consciousness. The hero of the Oscar-winning film Gladiator, Maximus Decimus Meridius helped vevive a dying name in the UK. In 1999 only four babies were named Maximus, but in 2001 this had jumped up to 114.
Most popular movie character baby names in America
Disney princesses dominate the rankings of babies named after famous movie characters in the USA, four of the top five most popular movie baby names are named after these types of characters, here are the top three most popular:
1. Jasmine (Aladdin), 109,229 babies:
By far the most popular movie-related baby name in the United States is Jasmine, a name deriving from the white flower and popularised by the 1992 movie Aladdin, and again after its 2019 live-action remake. There were 109,229 babies named Jasmine between 2000 and 2021, which is more than double the second most popular movie-related baby name.
2. Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), 52,249 babies:
Aurora is a name used to describe a lot of things such as the stunning northern lights, a rumoured spy plane project, and the star of the classic animated film Sleeping Beauty. With over 50,000 newborn babies named after the character in America between 2000 and 2021, it’s the second most popular movie-inspired baby name.
3. Ariel (The Little Mermaid), 48,204 babies:
The third most popular name inspired by Movies in America is Ariel, the character who appeared in the Dinsey animated adaptation of Hans Christen Andersen’s classic novel. There were just under 50,000 babies named Ariel in the US between 2000 and 2021, which is only around 4,000 fewer than those named Aurora.