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a visualization of the 2008 US movie box office revenues. each graph shows the trends in the top 25 movies at the box office for each weekend in a year. the color is based on the movie's debut week so that long-running movies gradually start to stand out from newer movies with different colors.

[link: xach.com & xach.com (explanations)|thnkx Till]

see also:
. ebb & flow of box office movies
. music listening history graph





Good visualization but it has a couple of key flaws, in my understanding...

I'd really like to see some searching of zooming feature for those less money-making pics we have there, plus the labels do not follow the screen when you go to the most recent movies part.

Othewise, great choice of colors and graphics!

Tue 05 Aug 2008 at 12:16 AM
Guilherme Bertini

Visually beautiful but totally unnecessary. A simple bar chart would given readers the same information in 1 second or less.

Tue 05 Aug 2008 at 2:36 AM

I disagree. Basically this is a stacked bar chart with connecting flow lines, but the connections do clarify the change in rankings for each individual movie over time. This helps interesting anomalies to stand out - e.g., while most movies drop in the rankings over time, you can see an "Oscar boost" for Juno, There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men, and others around late February. Without the flow lines making a sharply contrasting angle with the rest of the field, this effect wouldn't be as obvious.

Tue 05 Aug 2008 at 5:09 AM

The New York Times had a similar display of movies, but with more data.


Tue 05 Aug 2008 at 5:48 AM

yes, clearly a blatant rip off from the New York Times version, but failing to emulate its purpose. The NYT brilliantly illustrate the peaks over a period of time. Eg. Forrest Gump makes its money over several months whereas Batman Begins peak is high but very short.

Wed 06 Aug 2008 at 4:46 AM

While I love the comments that at least argue their case, I would like to put some of them in perspective.

Using a movie revenue data set in a time-based technique does not necessarily make it a "rip-off". Such comments have the potential to put the bar of originality so high that even data sets need to be obscure.

I would also state that simple bar graphs will almost always win, if the design consideration is effectiveness only. I would be interested though, in how many people will even take the time to look and explore a bar graph display of this data.

In the meantime, the domain xach.com rose from 476,000 to 69,200 (higher than this blog), intriguing a huge amount of people that would be oblivious even looking at movie revenue graphs...

Wed 06 Aug 2008 at 2:10 PM

I would have to agree with infosthetics here. Whilst the NYT one was the first, it looked great but the layout was more confusing; the colours and the 'waves' representing movies were not ideal.

For one, it is far harder to get an idea of the relative magnitude of the data points when they are represented by complex shapes, as in the NYT chart. This chart overcomes that problem.

The hierachy of the data is also better; one can track movies over time far more effectively in this manner than with a bar chart, where the series are not linked. This adds clutter but also aids readability if you're interested in the time series rather than just magnitudes. It makes it far easier to track the movies which start out small but then grow. The labelling could be a problem, but is hardly insurmountable.

Thu 07 Aug 2008 at 10:01 AM

I think this does a better job than the NYT graphic too. The NYT waves start with an up slope, implying that earnings started from zero and increased to it's peak over a course of time. However, in reality, box office earning are in an instant on opening night and decrease from there. The xach graphic captures that instant revenue better.

Thu 07 Aug 2008 at 5:25 PM

The problem I have with this is simply the execution. The colours are simply too close and add no further information. Couldn't films of the same genre or release date have a grouping of colours or a gradation of a single colour or something. Also, the groupings are too tight. It's just too hard on the eyes.

Wed 13 Aug 2008 at 2:18 AM
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