NYT's Box Office Visualizer: The Ebb & Flow Of Movies

Not to get all Kottke about it, but I really like the NY Times' infographic data visualization tool thing [is that an inexpert enough description for you?] that plots out the inflation-adjusted weekly domestic box office numbers of movies from 1986-a couple of weeks ago.

It's fun to play with and interesting to watch in the same way the highly addictive Baby Name Wizard's NameVoyager interface is.

Still, I think Ebb & Flow's got some near misses in terms of usefulness. The tool's big takeaways--that studios are relying more and more on blockbusters, that there are more films released, for much shorter runs--are best seen over the years, so a zoomout would've been nice. Also, a zoom in, since so many recent films are reduced to single, stubby lines.

And while I'm sure it was a decision based on the underlying value of the box office data--as provided by NYTimes Company subsidiary StudioSystems and Box Office Mojo--the details I want to click for are not a synopsis and a link to the Times' review; it's the box office numbers and the duration of the theatrical run for that particular film.

Also, Idiocracy isn't in there. I wonder why, since despite Fox's best efforts, the movie was technically released last year. [Note to self: next time I see Mike Judge, give him $20 for downloading the movie in a way that provided absolutely no financial benefit to the studio who killed it.]

The Ebb and Flow of Movies: Box Office Receipts 1986 - 2007 [nyt]

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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