Hollywood budgets – extended deadline

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Hollywood Budgets - A Visualization Challenge
Well, our Information is Beautiful Awards challenge on movie budgets is proving more popular than a DVD of Juno on a wet afternoon.

We’ve had loads of great entries already. And some amazingly creative ideas are popping up.

Like, Jermone Cukier‘s explorations of the dollar value of individual features of a plot. He cross-referenced keywords for each movie on IMDb with box office return. The result? A price tag for each plot element.

Having an explosion in your film could earn you $150m, he finds. A love triangle $37m. And a psychopath – just $32m. See the list.

All this is very exciting and creative so we’re extending the closing deadline by a week.

You now have until Monday 6 February to get your ideas to us.

» Check out the challenge at InformationIsBeautifulAwards.com
» Check out the data

You can create a design, an interactive piece or even a sketch on a napkin to tell your own movie stories. The winners share a showbiz-worthy $5,000 prize-pot, thanks to kind sponsors Kantar.com.

In the meantime, why not explore this revealing snippet of data. Top 10 films for each year not by Hollywood’s favourite, gross. But by profitability, percentage of against budget, not just cash-pull. Changes the top 10 movie charts considerably…

See the data sheet in Google Docs


CONCEPT: David McCandless
SOURCES: The-Numbers.com, BoxOfficeMojo, IMDB, Wikipedia
DATA GATHERERS: Miriam Quick, Marley Whiteside, Dan Hampson, Pearl Doughty-White, Matt Hancock, Alexia Wdowski, Alex Lemon

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Show Comments ( )

  • iainl

    It’s an interesting comparison, but it’s worth bearing in mind that those percentage figures are against “Production” budget. Which doesn’t include marketing, print costs or plenty of other money that gets spent in search of that gross return. Paranormal Activity’s $15,000 production budget was spend a thousand times over on advertising, so it’s kind of irrelevant.

  • skids

    The question then becomes, if you spend $15K to make a film, then get $150K of ticket receipts, then after receiving that money, you spend it on advertising, what counts as “budget”? You only had a $15K initial outlay, and didn’t have to put in more for advertising, you just reinvested profits.

    On the flip side it is worth noting that cherries like Paranormal Activity are rare, and only generate so much money despite their obscene ROIs, so they are only available as opportunities to a small number of investors, whereas a huge Disney production with a mere 15% profit margin still represents a large amount of profit for a large number of investors.

    The quality of financial data is always a bit dubious because care is almost never taken to apply semantics consistently when merging data sources. (I’d like to see one of these contests use more solid data like for example chemical properties of compunds.) However, that doesn’t mean the data isn’t fun to use as fodder for finding new ways to visualize and express it, so try not to think to hard on that point and just view it as an excercise in representation.

  • Spaceman-Spiff

    If someone asks if I’m willing to invest $1,000 and earn $10,000 in return (1000%) or invest $50,000 and earn $100,000 in return (100%), I’d go with the latter.

    In the end of the day, even the profit % is lower, it’s still a lot more money.

  • Michael F

    Wow, the only one in the Gross column for 2011 that wasn’t a sequel was “The Smurfs”, which of course is a re-hash of something that’s been done before anyway.

  • http://musicalsam.com Musical Sam

    The Paranormal P/E % is do high, my phone thought it was a phone number.