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Twenty years of film in one computer window

So I read this article in the New York Times the other day about how last year was such a blockbuster for films that this year will almost certainly look bad in comparison. But what absolutely blew me away was the “interactive chart” that went with the article.

You HAVE to check it out by clicking here.

It shows in one single graph every major film that’s been released in the last twenty years, how much it made per week by week, and how much it made total. WOW!

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I’m sure Edward Tufte would be proud of this. It’s an absolutely amazing chart. It definitively shows that the blockbuster films are put out in the early- to mid- summer and Thanksgiving to Christmas periods. It’s also interesting to see how some films die quite quickly, but others last for quite a bit. Oscar winners in particular seem to have a January to March boost, or at least “extension”.

The first time I saw the chart I thought it was pretty interesting, and then I realised it went back twenty years. As a kid who grew up in the Midwest, I saw a lot of films growing up; it seemed to be the standard thing to do on dates. Scrolling through the chart was a pleasant trip down memory lane.