The [Box Office] Economics of Emotions | Our Emotions, the Movies We Watch, and the Economy

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. This documented relationship was the inspiration for this project—it is designed to allow you to see the relative popularity of each genre (based on the top 20 movies of each year to ensure that we are sampling movies that were actually popular with users) while simultaneously seeing the changing economic conditions over time.

The visualization is built using a whole group of web languages, making use of a MySQL database, PHP to pull and parse the data, JSON to translate the PHP into javascript, and Processing.js to take these new js variables and visualize them dynamically.

Date: May 13, 2011