The Profitability of Film

The graph below plots 6,318 films dating back to 1913. Quick notes:

  • The size of the bubbles shows the number of IMDB votes - an indication of how present the film is in America's consciousness.
  • You can toggle the X-Axis to display ROI, Profit, Box Office Gross, Budget, and IMDB Rating. All dollar figures have been adjusted to the 2014 USD.
  • Drag the axis slider to change the outlier threshold and skew of the graph.
  • Selecting a face will highlight relevant movies (you can also search by title).
  • Hover over any movie for the title/year, and click on it to get a full set of details.

Note: Data from IMDB, which isn't perfect. See notes at the bottom for details.

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Additional Notes

In a previous post, I explored the over $5 billion in Box Office revenue Nic Cage has brought in over the past 30 years. That all came in on production budgets totaling $2.5B, for a 100% return on the initial investment. That sounded great, but I didn't have anything to benchmark against, so I turned to the rest of Hollywood.

I want to be clear - Nic Cage has no peer in cinema. We are using these other peasants only for benchmarking purposes.

All of the data is sourced from IMDB. It's a massive and (importantly) free-to-use database, but it's note perfect. Many films are missing Production Budget or Box Office figures, and so have been left out of the analysis. The figures themselves do not take into account significant additional costs (marketing) and revenue sources (Streaming, DVD, LaserDisc, Betamax...). For simplicity, I've decided Box Office and Production Budget are a good enough proxy for a film's financial success. 

Toggling on the Actors, Directors and other groups will highlight ALL movies associated to them in the database, not just the ones in which they had a specific role. For example, when highlighting Steven Spielberg, we show the movies he directed, but also those that he served as a producer on.