Sunday, March 2, 2008

NY Times Box Office Graph

A friend of mine came across this the other day - the NY Times Box Office Graph (thanks Aaron).

I can't recreate it on this blog in its entirety because there is a significant interactive component - so I encourage you to go and have a play. The best I can do it paste an image:

It's very hard to read from the image, but basically it's every movie since 1986 plotted on a type of stacked area chart by time (time is the horizontal axis).

When my friend sent this to me, he didn't know if it was awful or good. I think it's good, but in a way very different to a normal graph.

It's good because it is interactive. When you go to the site, instead of just relying on the image to convey information, you can mouse over the different areas and see more detail - the actual movie's graph is highlighted (allowing you to see it more clearly), you can click on it for a description of the movie and there is even a link to a NY times movie review.

I found myself perusing movie titles from 10 years ago, ones with respectable box-office revenues that I had never seen. After a while, I realized that the graphic was probably working well for exactly its intended use - browsing movie titles.

Which is good, because as a graphic for the sole purpose of relaying and comparing information, it's not that great. Primarily because in the interest of space, movies are plotted on the top and bottom - which makes it hard to compare the relative heights of the areas. That and it's kind of cluttered.

But even then, the color coded areas do make comparisons possible.

Still, it's the sort of graphic you would put on a website to let people play with, not in a PowerPoint presentation to a movie studio executive.

Horses for courses.

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1 comment:

box office graph said...

great graph, interesting design as well.