What are these pretty circles?

This interactive piece helps us visualize the differences of opinion between the audience and critics and attempts to map the financial success of a movie to its ratings. The wonderful data-set curated by David McCandless and his team spans over the last five years in Hollywood cinema and contains information on more than 600 movies.

A simple area chart plots the difference in ratings given by critics and the audience for all the Hollywood movies from 2007 to 2011. A little left of centre, the difference is at its lowest and the two factions are unanimous in their opinions. As we move further left from this point, critics favour movies more whereas towards the right its the audience who gives a higher rating. At the left and right extremes, critics and the audience are at loggerheads with each other.

The ratings range from 0 to 100 on the vertical axis and have been categorized into five groups à la Metacritic :

  • Overwhelming dislike (0-19)
  • Generally unfavourable (20-39),
  • Mixed or Average reviews (40-60),
  • Generally favourable (61-80),
  • Universal Acclaim (81-100)

Movies are mapped to this chart based on ratings and are represented by two circles: one for the audience rating (pink) and the other one for critics rating (purple). The circles can be resized to represent various measures of financial success (revenue, profitability, opening weekend gains etc.). Award winning movies are always circled in white!

Hovering over a movie shows its ratings and budget to gross ratio. The orange square on the left represents the budget while the one of the right shows the revenue. The revenue square is further split into domestic gross(green) and foreign gross(blue). Click on a movie to view its cast and synopsis.

Each page has a different set of filters that let us narrow down our selection of movies using different parameters. Movies can be plotted using either their critics or audience rating or both. A mini-pie-chart at the top right helps grasp ratios when narrowing down selections.

Have fun slicing and dicing!!

Works in Chrome, IE9+, Firefox

A few interesting insights on this page:

  • The audience (almost) never overwhelmingly dislikes a movie. The only exception raked more than six times its budget in revenue!
  • The critics ratings are evenly distributed across all categories
  • The audience and critics seldom agree that a movie was bad
  • The audience rarely strongly disagrees with critics when the latter likes a movie.