Box Office MojoThe first one is http://www.boxofficemojo.com/. There is a lot of data that you can choose from and it is almost realtime. For example you can click on Daily and it will give the summary of total domestic (US) ticket sales for each day. Or at the top if you click the daily summary you will get the top movies of the day and how much they made (among other things, right down to the dollar). You can even drill down and click on the movie name to get things like how many theatres it is in. One of the other neat things is they have "Showdowns" of movies and do comparisons like this one from Interstellar, Gravity and The Martian. But by far the coolest thing is the all time chart which gives the records for a huge number of metrics.
The NumbersThe second site I like is http://www.the-numbers.com/ , Here you can get some of the same stats like the box office info from any day of any year, but also stuff on DVD sales as well as how bankable a star is. And it even has a special Report Builder page where you can generate your own report with the info you want. But for me, by far, the best part is their movie budgets page where you can get the all time list of movies by production budget (over 5000 of them) or top 20 movies that were most profitable.
The AnalysisThere is so much that you can do with this data that you could probably pick off any topic and find something to report on. But let me highlight a few of my favourite things to do. For example, with the daily movie data from Box Office Mojo (Fathom, Fathom Sol, Google Sheet). At the low end you could create histograms, dot plots and box plots, and compare measures of central tendency. At the higher end you can have them look for outliers or compare what happens day to day.
Another of my favourite things is to look at how movies did compared to what it cost to make them. There is a lot of info on this on The Numbers and one of my favourite examples is that of the Blair Witch Project. A movie that only cost $60,000 to make yet had a world wide total gross of almost $250 million. You can get the daily numbers for any movie like this and in this case see that this started out in one theatre, did well. Then expanded to about 30 theatres and did well and then finally got a much wider distribution and blew up.
That is just a small amount of what you could do with this data. Especially if you use the full set from the Numbers (Fathom, Google Sheets)
- What I usually do with these sites is ask something more general. I introduce them and then just ask "What story does this data tell? Use graphs and calculations to tell your story."
- Another thing I ask is to look at the all time list and use a site like http://natoonline.org/data/ticket-price/ to put everything in today's dollars. They can check their answers on the Box Office Mojo summary page where they show that Gone With the Wind, adjusted for inflation, would have grossed over $1.7 billion domestically (there is no worldwide data). Or even look at the story that they tell about adjusted data. The dataset on movie ticket prices alone is pretty good for analysis.
- For the younger grades you could make bar graphs or circle graphs about their favourite movie franchise, for example, like Harry Potter (Google Sheets, Google Sheets with Graphs)
Other Movie ResourcesThe FiveThirtyEight.com site often does a lot of stories on movies and there is a great podcast about the problems with the movie rating sites and how they handle data. Read and listen about it here and here. And of course there is the famous movie quotes as visualizations
Download the Data
- Of course go to The Numbers and Box Office Mojo at any time to get the most up to date data on movies. All the files I analyzed here can be found in this folder. Note that all of these files were generated BEFORE Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out so it will be interesting to see how it changes the data.
Let me know if you used these data set or if you have suggestions of what to do with it beyond this. Or if you created a lesson based on this data, share it below.