Hollywood's Cultural Reach

Click here to view Hollywood’s Cultural Reach.


The Information Is Beautiful 2012 Challenge provided data from box office hits from 2007 to 2012: titles, budgets, reviews, genres, profits, etcetera. I wanted to make some kind of visualization of the data, but wasn’t sure what. After kicking around the internet a while I became fascinated by data on boxofficemojo, which included international box office numbers.

Eventually I landed of the theme of Hollywood versus Non-Hollywood. I augmented the Information is Beautiful dataset with International box office information from boxofficemojo. To explore the data I designed two basic visualizations around countries, and movies.

Show all the countries

Countries visualization

I started with a vector map from wikipedia. I wanted to present a visualization that evoked a poster more than a website: no text fields, buttons, or combo-boxes. In lieu of all the buttons I created one ‘pencil’ button, that shows all the filtering options available to the user. A subtitle text at the top of the map reflects the values selected by the user, describing how the data is filtered on the map.

I made the option order countries from least to greatest value, in various values that they could be colored by:

Show all the movies

Movies visualization

To capture more information about movies in the world, or in a specific country, I created a second set of visualizations.

The left graph grouped movies by Hollywood(light gray) and non-Hollywood (dark gray), ordered by box office earnings. Take Japan and Spain as examples.

In Japan there are about twice as many non-Hollywood movies show (341 Hollywood to the 668 non-Hollywood as seen the bottom axis of the graph). The total revenue is $9.6 billion dollars, and the top Hollywood blockbusters were Avatar and Alice in Wonderland. But, $5.7 of the $9.6 billion was made on non-Hollywood movies - the top two being Karigurashi no Arrietty (The Secret World of Arrietty) and Gaku no Ue no Ponyo.

On the other hand, in Spain only about a third of the movies shown are Hollywood films. However, the most successful films are Hollywood films: only $1.2 billion revenue, of the total $4.4 billion are captured by non-Hollywood films.

On the right side of the visualization I showed the top film categories by revenue.

Lack of Data

Boxofficemojo didn’t have data for all countries. Most notably the majority of Africa, and the Middle East. Why are there all of these gray countries?

One Theatre: Several other countres in Africa appear to only have on theatre. Examples I found: Botswana, Kazakhstan, Gabon. Chad had one theatre that closed in 1984. It reopened in 2011 but doesn’t have an online presence.

Civil War? Angola is an example of a country with recent internal struggles, and no movie data.

Illegal: I’ve read that in Saudi Arabia people travel to Bahrain to watch movies.

Other Questions

Which countries watch fewer Hollywood movies than non-Hollywood?

All the yellow ones in the map up above. India I expected: Bollywood, anyone!? But Japan?!

What is the top grossing non-Hollywood movie?

Perusing the top box office movies for those countries I found Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis (Welcome to the Sticks) at $193 million in France.

What kind of Hollywood movies do well abroad?

In other words, what aspect of American culture do other countries want to watch? Just randomly clicking around the Action and Comedy category movies are Hollywood’s most popular genres (in terms of number of movies people watch).

What foreign country likes Romances?

If you click on the pencil, and limit movies to the ‘Romance’ genre and color by the # movies the UK, Russia and Germany come behind the US & Canada.

© Dane Summers 2018