Action Films Quantified

Screenshot 2014-05-02 at 10.09.38

Data journalism goes to the movies:

Violence is on the rise in blockbusters. While the term is rather vague, 40 percent of movies in the entire set spanning 1975 to 2013 — and 70 percent since 2010 — were tagged with ‘violence.’ Let’s break that down into some of the tags that are typically found in violent movies.

Gore is down since the decadent days of the late 1970s, but murder is up. Here’s something interesting, though. The “murder” tag and the “blood” tag largely kept pace with one another through 2004, which is to be expected, as the former often leads to the latter.

This IMDB-tag-based approach to film appreciation is not going down so well:

Man, who needs film criticism when we have data journalism to sort this shit out.

— Mark Slutsky (@totallyslutsky) May 2, 2014

It’s not obvious what data-based film criticism wants, or what it intends to do, but it certainly has utility: I don’t need to see a single one of these summer blockbusters to have an opinion on all of them! Nor do I need to borrow a professional critic’s take or formulate a snappy, counter-intuitive riff on the fly. I can just talk about data and directional trends and charts. The big picture, the context.

This kind of analysis might not cut to the core of a film but it does produce some interesting meta-trivia, and a bonus sense of closure:

Even before the movie begins, you’ll see the logo of the studios that produced the film. In recent years, you may have noticed that the production companies changed their logos to match the spirit of each film.

This practice has become increasingly visible in blockbusters. According to our data, 27 blockbusters released since 2000, or 16 percent, had an altered logo.