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Data Geek Challenge: Success of Hollywood movies

Hi all!

For my Data Geek Challenge entry, I decided to analyze data about major Hollywood films from 2007 and 2011. I used data set Hollywood Budgets from a page called Information is Beautiful ( There they have wrote: “It always bugs me how Hollywood grades or broadcasts the success of a film by gross income. Profitability, or % of Budget Recovered, is a way better grade of a film’s success. Especially in America, where each film has such high printing and advertising costs, that it needs to recover about 250-300% of its budget to be deemed a true hit.

In fact, if you use Profitability as an index, it changes the view considerably. Take 2007, for example, where the biggest grossing film was Pirates Of The Caribbean: At Worlds End. But it only recovered 320% of its budget. But the most profitable film of 2007 by far was…Can you guess? Have a look at the data.”

With all my pleasure! 🙂

The data set does not include all the movies that have been incurred in Hollywood in the years 2007-2011. Especially the list of ones made in 2011 is not complete. I also deleted rows with films that had incomplete information, for which I estimated that it would not significantly affect the results of the analysis. Nevertheless there are still 662 films to analyze! Moreover I enriched the data with information on the main actors and added a dimension % of Domestic Gross in US Opening weekend.

The attributes that I used:


From them I used next ones as measures:


I started with a simple question: Which year did we spend the most for visiting cinemas and enjoying our movies?


I found out that Worldwide gross is increasing through years…why? It could be that we are visiting cinemas more often, it is also possible that the tickets went up over the years, or that studios sell a lot more promotional items. This offers a possibility for a further research, but I decided to stay with the data that I have in front of me.


I did a similar chart, replacing Worldwide Gross with Budget. Also budget is constantly increasing…no recession in movie industry, I guess. 🙂

And which movies by analyzed years brought the most in the box office? Taaa-daaaa:


No surprises really, ha? The Avatar really stands out and as a huge fan, don’t see why not. It was the most anticipated movie in last years…James Cameron did his job good..AGAIN. 🙂 The list of movies with top worldwide grosses ( shows, that Titanic was on the top of the list for 12 years. I wonder which movie will beat this two biggest earners.


When I added also a budget to the chart, we can see how much were the films actually profitable. A lot!


But are this films also the most profitable? Let’s have a look:


When I used Profitability as a measure, I’ve got a whole different picture: Film Paranormal Activity is an absolute winner. The return of the budget was more than 10.000 times! To see which movies were most profitable in other years, I had to exclude Paranormal Activity:


We can see that the stats are quite correct, while comparing it to this list of most profitable movies based on ROI (


Next, I wanted to analyze what is the connection between Audience score, Worldwide gross and income on US Opening weekend. I found out, that movies with bigger audience score (The King’s Speech or The Artist) or biggest worldwide gross (Avatar) not necessarily have a high attendance in the first weekend. Interesting is also that The Twilight Saga: New Moon was the second in earning the most in US opening weekend, but overall worldwide gross isn’t that big. Maybe there was no teens left after first couple of weekends. 😉


When I changed worldwide gross to profitability chart change a whole lot:


The next question of mine to answer was: does the budget affect on audience scores? I ranked TOP 20 films by audience score (size of the blocks) and add their budget (colour of the blocks). We see that more than half of movies had the budget only up to $50 million, so we can easilly say that the cost of the movie doesn’t really affect it’s quality.


When I changed attribute to Rotten tomatoes scoring, we can see quite a difference. That’s because Rotten tomatoes represent average meta score of critical reviews, and Audience scoring is completely done by users of the portal. Nevertheless we can see the same picture as above: the budget doesn’t really affect people’s taste.


I also wanted to see how did critics score the biggest earners:


Even Megan Fox couldn’t save the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.  🙂

Again one example showing that you can have smaller budget but still good earnings (Toy story 3):



From this pie charts we can see that a lot of studios made movies in 2011 comparing to previous years. Promising business isn’t it? But to see data more clearly I filtered it to TOP 10 lead studios by worldwide gross:


The shares changed in 2011: Fox didn’t do nothing much, but Relativity Media and DreamWorks Pictures had their big shot…let’s remember: DreamWorks Pictures made Transformers: Dark of the Moon in 2011, with beautiful Rosie Huntington-Whiteley…guess that was a right choice. 🙂

I wanted also to check if the Academy is properly doing their job…and yes(!) they are…all of the films awarded with Oscars in those 5 years have an audience score bigger than 80 %.


Interesting view is also a comparison between Oscar awarded films by their domestic and foreign gross. Coming from Slovenia, a very small country in Europe, it’s interesting to me, that we (ok, not only we as Europe, but also other worldwide countries) prefer some films more that they do in US. I calculated the share of domestic gross in worldwide gross and then the average of all 662 films…and it’s 54,45 %! So even if the US market is smaller than all the other foreign countries together, most Hollywood films earn half of their gross in US! So it’s quite right to say, judging by grosses, that we liked The King’s Speech much more than US audience did. Hmmm? 🙂 It’s also another way around…I never heard of the movie The Blind side ’till now. 😉


And which studios are making this awesome films and how much do they spend for them:


And movies from which studios do we score the highest?


I found out another interesting fact: people in US are rushing in cinemas to watch horror and actions films:


Action films achieve also the biggest worldwide grosses, while comedies are the most profitable:


Talking about profitability: which films did not even recover 50 % of the budget?


Why is that? Weren’t they any good? Adding audience scores tells me that’s the case, yes. But surprisingly, the Take Shelter film has an impressive audience score, but still manage to get only 30 % of their budget back.


What about the stars? Here are the TOP 20 main actors by average audience scores of their appearances, also by worldwide gross. We can see that being Harry, was Daniel Radcliffe’s best move.



So that’s it. With this data set, I could do even more visualizations, but I think it’s enough. 🙂 I found some interesting facts and I enjoyed working with Lumira, mostly because it’s very quick.

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      Author's profile photo Jitendra Kansal
      Jitendra Kansal

      interesting analysis.. i am sure if you must have spent enough time to analyze the whole data. good work. 😛



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member


      Wow~~ I have to admit that my favourite chart type would definitely be the bubble chart!

      You're able to really bring the power of Lumira straight to the forefront with this very easy-to-understand data and visualizations!~

      You mention that it was "very quick". How long did this entire process actually take you?

      Was there a particular function that you enjoyed working with, or having access to the most?



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Bijan,

      I spent approx. 15 hours for this (not all together off course 😉 ). I spent the most time on organizing and enriching the data. I made analysis quite quickly: 3h. I had so many ideas what to show and analyze, that afterwards I had spent a lot of time choosing which visualizations and charts I will display in a blog. 🙂 I enjoyed that when changing something in Excel spreadsheet and then refreshing data in Lumira, nothing collapsed in Lumira, data just simply changed...Also drag and drop function and ranking are easy to use. If what, I would just refine filtering options.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Trafela,

      Good Day!

      Thank you so much for sharing interesting analysis.

      Keep sharing!


      Hari Suseelan

      Author's profile photo lan lucas
      lan lucas

      One of the biggest qualities of Hollywood movies which distinguish it from any other industry is professionalism. Every scene, from the beginning to the end, is depicted so professionally that one can hardly come up with a flaw. The movies makes hard for us to believe that it's fictional.