|2006 Movie Awards|
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Top 10 Box Office Performance
So after looking at a bunch of top 10 films of 2006 lists, and compiling my own, I began to wonder just how popular these movies really were. Film critics are notorious for picking films that the average viewer thinks are boring or pretentious. Indeed, my list features a few such picks, and when I think about it, there are very few movies on the list that I'd give an unqualified recommendation. For instance, some of the movies on my list are very violent or otherwise graphic, and some people just don't like that sort of thing (understandably, of course). United 93 is a superb film, but not everyone wants to relive 9/11. And so on. As I mentioned before, top 10 lists are extremely personal and usually end up saying more about the person compiling the list than anything else, but I thought it would be interesting to see just how mainstream these lists really are. After all, there is a wealth of box office information available for every movie, and if you want to know how popular something is, economic data seems to be quite useful (though, as we'll see, perhaps not useful enough).
So I took nine top 10 lists (including my own) and compiled box office data from Box Office Mojo (since they don't always have budget information, I sometimes referenced IMDB or Wikipedia) and did some crunching (not much, I'm no statistician). I chose the lists of some of my favorite critics (like the Filmspotting guys and the local guy), and then threw in a few others for good measure (I wanted a New York critic, for instance).
The data collected includes domestic gross, budget and the number of theaters (widest release). From that data, I calculated the net gross and dollars per theater (DPT). You'd think this would be pretty conclusive data, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized just how incomplete a picture this paints. Remember, we're using this data to evaluate various top 10 lists, so when I chose domestic gross, I inadvertantly skewed the evaluation against lists that featured foreign films (however, I am trying to figure out whose list works best in the U.S. so I think it is a fair metric). So the gross only gives us part of the picture. The budget is an interesting metric, as it provides information about how much money a film's backers thought it would make and it provides a handy benchmark with which to evaluate (unfortunately, I was not able to find budget figures for a number of the smaller films, further skewing the totals you'll see). Net Gross is a great metric because it incorporates a couple of different things: it's not just a measure of how popular a movie is, it's a measure of how popular a movie is versus how much it cost to make (i.e. how much a film's producers believed in the film). In the context of a top 10 list, it's almost like pretending that the list creator was the head of a studio who chose what films to greenlight. It's not a perfect metric, but it's pretty good. The number of theaters the film showed in is an interesting metric because it shows how much faith theater chains had in the movie (and in looking at the numbers, it seems that the highest grossing films also had the most theaters). However, this could again be misleading because it's only the widest release. I doubt there are many films where the number of theaters doesn't drop considerably after opening weekend. Dollars per theater is perhaps the least interesting metric, but I thought it interesting enough to include.
One other thing to note is that I gathered all of this data earlier this week (Sunday and Monday), and some of the films just recently hit wide distribution (notably Pan's Labyrinth and Children of Men, neither of which have recouped costs yet) and will make more money. Some films will be re-released around Oscar season, as the studios seek to cash in on their award winning films.
I've posted all of my data on a public Google Spreadsheet (each list is on a separate tab), and I've linked each list below to their respective tab with all the data broken out. This table features the totals for the metrics I went over above: Domestic Gross, Budget, Net Gross, Theaters, and Dollars Per Theater (DPT).
This was quite an interesting exercise, and it would appear from the numbers, that perhaps not all film critics are as out of touch as originally thought. Or are they? Let's take a closer look.
Statistically, the biggest positive outliers appeared to be Little Miss Sunshine and Borat, and the biggest negative outliers appeared to be Flags of our Fathers and Children of Men (both of which will make more money, as they are currently in theaters).
Obviously, this list is not authoritative, and I've already spent too much time harping on the qualitative issues with my metrics, but I found it to be an interesting exercise (if I ever do something similar again, I'm going to need to find a way to automate some of the data gathering, though). Well, this pretty much shuts the door on the 2006 Kaedrin Awards season. I hope you enjoyed it.
Posted by Mark on January 24, 2007 at 11:40 PM .: link :.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Best Films of 2006
Top 10 lists are intensely personal affairs. When it comes to movies (or art in general), you have to walk the narrow line between subjective and objective evaluations, and I inevitably end up with a list that says more about me than the movies I selected. James Berardinelli says it well:
I would be surprised if anyone else (critic or otherwise) has an identical Top 10 list to mine. But therein lies the enjoyment of examining individual Top 10 lists: they provide insight into the mindset of the one who has assembled them. It doesn't matter whether one agrees with their choices or not; that's irrelevant. It's about learning something about a person through the movies they like. I don't like "group" lists. To me, they are valueless - a generic popularity contest that reveals nothing.I actually kinda like "group" lists, but I digress. The point is that these are generally movies that I like or otherwise moved me. Context matters. Some films are on the list because I had low expectations that were exceeded beyond imagination, and some are there because I had a great theater-going experience (apparently a rarity in this day and age). As I've done in years past, my top 10 is listed in a roughly reverse order, with the best last.
Top 10 Movies of 2006
* In roughly reverse order
As I've already mentioned above, the first two of the Honorable Mentions listed below could probably be interchangeable with the number 9 or 10 in the top 10. Part of why it was so hard to select was that these four films are just so different from one another. Indeed, the last two has changed back and forth several times (I started this list a while ago).
These are all decent films, but for some reason, I don't find them as engaging as everyone else.
In any case, comments are welcome. Feel free to express your outrage or approval in the comments.
Posted by Mark on January 21, 2007 at 10:06 PM .: link :.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
2006 Kaedrin Movie Awards
I watched a lot of movies in 2006, both in the theater and at home. I've always watched a lot of movies, but I usually find myself catching up with present-year movies. I haven't seen many of the Oscar hunting movies that come out in limited release towards the end of the year. This is because, well, they're in limited release and not playing near me. Even still, I think I can come up with something interesting. To start, I'm going to announce some award nominations with slightly different categories than the traditional award shows (i.e. fun awards, more like MTV than the Oscars). I figure that I'll comment on the traditional awards (best actor/actress, screenplays, etc...) when the Oscar liveblogging comes around. I may actually get a top 10 movies of 2006 list out there relatively soon as well.
To start things off, I'm going to list out some categories and nominees. The rules for this are that it has to be a 2006 movie and I have to have seen the movie (and while I have seen a lot of movies, I don't pretend to have seen a comprehensive selection - don't let that stop you from suggesting something though). Also, I suppose I should mention the requisite disclaimer that these sorts of lists are inherently subjective and personal. Part of the reason I'm doing this is just to give some love to films that I like, but which aren't necessarily great or are otherwise flawed (as such, the categories may seem a bit eclectic). Some of these movies will end up on my top 10, but the grand majority of them will not.
For this category, I'm choosing individuals and not a group of people (or creatures, so no Snakes on a Plane).
On the flip side, again limited to individuals and not groups. This actually turns out to be a pretty tough category this year. I feel like I have to be missing something (feel free to suggest alternatives in the comments), but here goes:
Best Comedic Performance
Comedies aren't given a lot of respect, even when they make us laugh really hard. In terms of comedic performance, I didn't love all of the below movies, but I liked these performances:
This is more of a personal breakthrough than a mainstream breakthrough (indeed, some of these people may have already had their mainstream breakthrough). My main criteria here is when I watch a movie, then immediately look up one of the actors/actresses to find out who they are and what else they've done. Sometimes, they're someone I recognized but never thought much of, sometimes not.
Most Visually Stunning
Sometimes even bad movies can be absolutely gorgeous. Winner Announced!
Best Sci-Fi or Horror Film
Genre films get no love, but there really weren't all that many good options that I had seen, so I had to combine these two categories. Winner Announced!
Everyone likes to revisit characters from movies they love. In theory, at least. Most sequels are terrible, but these stood out this year. Winner Announced!
I wasn't sure if I should include a "negative" category, but I think this one works (for this year, at least). There are two components to consider here. First, the overall quality of the movie. Second, my expecations for the movie. In some cases my expectations were low and the film was bad. In others my expectations were high and the film was mediocre. And so on. Winner Announced!
Best Action Sequences
Since no single action sequence really, really stoodout from the crowd for me, I'm taking into account all the action sequences in the movies listed. Winner Announced!
Best Plot Twist/Surprise
Because of the spoiler potential, you'll need to swipe this category to see the nominees. I'm limiting the info displayed to simply the movie name, which should keep the spoilers to a minimum, but sometimes even knowing that there's a twist can affect your enjoyment, so read on at your own risk.
Anyone have any suggestions (for either category or nominations)? Comments, complaints and suggestions are welcome, as always.
It looks like Casino Royale, Mission Impossible III, and Clerks II are leading the nominations, with 4 each. The Descent racks up an impressive 3 nominations, while a whole slew of others pick up a respectible 2 (this is not counting the disappointment category). I'm going to give these nominations a week or so to stew in my head. I'll probably also add some nominations as the week goes on and I remember something that I stupidly forgot (or something I just saw, like perhaps Children of Men - again, feel free to help me out in the comments). I figure I'll announce the winners next week, perhaps with only one or two categories a day.
Posted by Mark on January 07, 2007 at 08:45 PM .: link :.
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