Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Looks like we're all geeks (paca)

You know how people always say that sci-fi, fantasy, and superheroes (sffsh) are all for geeks and nerds and people living in their parents basement when they are 35? I just took a look at the top box office movies of all time, and it looks like the whole world is made up of geeks. Here's the list (with comments):

1 Titanic $600,788,188 12/19/1997 (not really sffsh)
2 Star Wars $460,998,007 05/25/1977 (sci-fi)
3 Shrek 2 $441,226,247 05/19/2004 (animated fantasy for kids and adults)
4 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial $435,110,554 (sci-fi) 06/11/1982
5 Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace $431,088,301 (sci-fi) 05/19/1999
6 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest $423,315,812 07/07/2006 (not elves and dragons, but people with octopus heads, sword fighting, curses, and takes place in a mythical version of human history - this is basically fantasy)
7 Spider-Man $403,706,375 05/03/2002 (super hero)
8 Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith $380,270,577 05/19/2005 (sci-fi)
9 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King $377,027,325 12/17/2003 (fantasy)
10 Spider-Man 2 $373,585,825 06/30/2004 (superhero)
11 The Passion of the Christ $370,782,930 02/25/2004 (ok, not)
12 Jurassic Park $357,067,947 06/11/1993 (sci-fi premise, but I'll give it a pass)
13 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers $341,786,758 12/18/2002 (fantasy)
14 Finding Nemo $339,714,978 05/30/2003 (not)
15 Forrest Gump $329,694,499 07/06/1994 (fantastical and mythical version of reality, but we'll say not for our purposes here)
16 The Lion King $328,541,776 06/15/1994 (not)
17 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone $317,575,550 11/16/2001 (fantasy)
18 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring $314,776,170 12/19/2001 (fantasy)
19 Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones $310,676,740 05/16/2002 (sci-fi)
20 Return of the Jedi $309,306,177 05/25/1983 (sci-fi)

By my count then 14 of the top 20 grossing films of all time are sci-fi, fantasy, or superheroes. But maybe this isn't a fair list, since things like Attack of the Clones kind of suck and are there clearly because of a huge fan base. That may not really work as a criticism, but let's drop out all sequels from the list. We end up with:

Titanic (no)
Star Wars (yep)
E.T. (yep)
Pirates of the Caribbean (yep)
Spider Man (yep)
Lord of the Rings (yep)
The Passion of the Christ (no)
Jurassic Park (yes)
Finding Nemo (no)
Forrest Gump (no)
The Lion King (no)
Harry Potter (yep)

That gives us seven yes and five no still.

You could say that the geek fan base is still small but rabid, and that a small number of people are just seeing the sci-fi fantasy ones over and over. However, I remember reports about teen girls seeing Titanic a whole bunch of times. (I saw it three times myself, I think.) No reports on the others, but I have a feeling that kids saw Finding Nemo more than once. I'm someone who really like Forrest Gump and saw it around four times. So that doesn't really work. And, final question, do any of these 12 movies above occur in the real world as it truly is?


I don't think any of them do. You could make a case for the Passion or Gump, but those are doubtful. I guess Titanic is the real world. Maybe larger than life and unrealistic and over-simplified, but still basically reality. So one of 12.

No, my conclusion is that as far as spending money on movie tickets goes, most people like to explore the mythical and impossible. The supposed geeks are the norm.

--To show how much of a geek I am, however, I was interested in just how much higher Titanic is from everyone else, so to get the big picture, I graphed it. (Which took 3 minutes.) Here you go.

All data from:

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