Data Visualization Critique: Wk 7

This weeks visualization comes to us from Information is Beautiful and it represents the profitability of Hollywood movies.

At first, the visual is intimidating because there are just so many bars and so many colors, you never feel like you’re going to get anything out of it, but once you start playing around with it, things become pretty simple.

I like that the chart does only a few things but it does them well. The top bars show how much the movie made and the bars extending downward show how much the movie cost to make (you can also reverse this).  This means its pretty easy to spot what the highest grossing movies are and you can run several different combos of the drop down menus to check some hypotheses.

For e.g., I wanted to see if the most profitable movies made the most money or simply cost the least. So I arranged the chart in order of profitability, we can see that on the left  side are low budget movies that didn’t really gross much but on the far right side are much taller bars showing larger revenues and also larger costs. In Hollywood, the majority rule is, you gotta spend money to make money.

The chart is interesting from a trivia point of view also because you can hover on each bar and it gives you some handy stats about the movie. The one stat I wasn’t sold on was “rating” which was supposed to be a combination of ‘audience’ and the film website ‘Rotten Tomatoes’. What do they mean by audience? Did they survey movie goers after they watched the movie. What did the audience rank the movie on?


One thought on “Data Visualization Critique: Wk 7

  1. SEM says:

    For journalism, one critique I would make of it is that it’s unclear what – if anything – the colors indicate. Once you roll over a bar this seems to correlate to story type, but why is there no key? Additionally, there’s no indication what the scope/timeframe of the data is at all. While this information may be available via the credit links, it’s fairly essential to interpreting the information in a meaningful way, and should be presented in context.

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