The [Box Office] Economics of Emotions

Percentage Share of Box Office Revenues out of the Top 20 Highest-Grossing Movies per year, Separated by Movie Genre (1948-2016)

Line Graph Depicts Percentage Change in GDP Year-Over-Year (Grey bars indicate periods of recession, horizontal rule marks 0% change)


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FILTER BY GENRE (View All)

TOP 4 MOVIES OF

SO WHAT EXACTLY AM I LOOKING AT?

It is no secret that our mood can influence what we want to see at the movie theater. Nor is it news that the overall state of the economy, through its direct impact on the lives of each one of us, can have a significant impact on our mood. So mathematically it would follow that the economic state of the nation would have some impact on the movies we watch, especially when we consider movies by genre.

Play with the data visualized above to see these relationships for yourself—just move the slider left and right to view the composition of box office revenues separated by genre from 1948 to 2010, or click on one of the genres to see a more detailed historical visualization of the genre over time.

When moving across the time axis, increases in time-based line graphs are denoted by the marker turning blue—drops in the data are denoted by the marker turning red. (So when the ball that glides along the GDP chart turns red, that indicates a period of economic downturn. Likewise, a red segment of a genre's historical box office revenues would indicate a decrease in revenues from the last period.) By watching the relationship between the GDP marker and the genre markers, you can begin to see direct and inverse relationship emerge.