What studio made your favorite movie? How about your top five? Don't feel bad if you cannot remember, the truth is that hardly anyone can. However, there is a complicated and cutthroat business behind every film and it often dictates the type of movies the industry produces. This viz details the Top 100 movies each year since 2001 (so, 1000 total). Click around and explore- there are some patterns that may surprise you.

As you can see in the first visualization, the major studios have leapfrogged eachother every year for the past decade. The impetus to cut costs and increase revenue are enormous. Oddly, studios are skipping cheaper, smaller productions in favor of enormous, billion dollar franchises like Avatar. This trend can be seen in the second visualization- as the decade has gone on there have been more and more $100M movies, at significantly higher average grosses.

What we like about this viz

Mark labels: Although you can tooltip over any item that you are interested in on this viz, having mark labels on likely points of interest makes the analytical process much easier.


I see that the two charts only include partial data for the last point (2010).

That look obviously wrong - or misleading, depending how the visualisations are read. Either way, it's not a good look from a data professional.

This can be addressed, either automatically or manually, by removing the final point, or by pro rating the score for the full year. In the latter case, notes immediately below each chart should flag the pro rating.

A partial score is not enormously helpful in itself.

Stephen Simmonds

Hi Stephen,

Thank you for your comment. You are right in that there are only partial values for the 2010 value. I stand behind this as I feel everyone will recognize that full data for 2010 is impossible since we have not lived through the entire year yet. I also disagree with you on the pro-ration. Although this may be an accepted practice in some fields, it would not be even close to accurate in an industry that is as cyclical as this.

That being said, we can agree that a half data point is not optimal. I believe it is shown as optimally as possible, but I sincerely appreciate your opinion otherwise.

Take care,

If it's partial for 2010, it would be helpful to know when the 2010 data point was gathered. From the chart, I can't tell if sales have fallen off a cliff or if they are on track to meet or exceed 2009's sales and continue the steady uptrend since 2006.

Having said that, there is a fair amount of useful information in the viz. Thanks for sharing.

Subscribe to our blog