No more mojo
October 10, 2014 3:13 PM   Subscribe

Amazon has shuttered BoxOfficeMojo.com.

The site, tracking box office revenue figures, was purchased by Amazon in 2008.

Amazon also owns IMDb. It closed Mojo's message boards in 2011. BoxOfficeMojo.com now forwards to IMDb.
posted by lewedswiver (46 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Variety story is kind of thin. Can someone in the know flesh out the meaning of this a little bit more?
posted by Going To Maine at 3:16 PM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's funny how hard it is to find entertainment sales revenue numbers, and not just in the movie business. Partly these figures have become proprietary, partly because providing reliable numbers has itself become a business.

Now you just hear about the big, successful properties in press releases.
posted by 2bucksplus at 3:26 PM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ouch. Tried looking up top box office for 2013, got redirected to a page with limited data for 2014 with a link to "See more box office results at BixOfficeMojo.com", which goes to the Box Office Mojo twitter profile, where they seem blissful unaware anything is up.

It's a bit of a mess.
posted by Artw at 3:29 PM on October 10, 2014


I'd be miffed but understanding if that data was rolled into imdb, but it looks a little like they've just dropped it entirely, which is awful.
posted by Artw at 3:31 PM on October 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


What the fuck. I browsed Boxofficemojo all the time.
posted by kmz at 3:36 PM on October 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


Count my "me too" among the regular visitors who will, I guess, be less informed about box office data from now on, for no apparent reason. Lame.
posted by frogstar42 at 3:54 PM on October 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, can anyone clue us non-movie-industry wonks in on why this is significant?

Did the site provide any information other than box office receipts?

Is there no good alternative source for this information?

What would someone use this data for in the first place?
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:55 PM on October 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


.
posted by Quaversalis at 4:03 PM on October 10, 2014


The apocryphal story as I've heard it:

So one day several years ago a junior guy at 20th Century Fox decided to look at the numbers for overall dvd sales for their company. Mostly it was as he expected it, except for one thing: their 5th-biggest money-maker on dvd was Office Space, which was a little film that didn't do very well at the box office, but had become something of a cult classic on dvd. He took this information up the chain, and the powers that be decided to give Mike Judge a shot at another movie. Since the studio had no idea how Judge had worked his magic, they basically let him do whatever he wanted.

The result was Idiocracy.
posted by nushustu at 4:09 PM on October 10, 2014 [14 favorites]


Now how will I find out how how poorly Kevin Smith's "Tusk" is doing? #WalrusYes
posted by MikeMc at 4:12 PM on October 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


I suppose the people that fund movies would ideally like to have complete control over all box office revenue information- that way they can control the messaging over what counts as a hit or not.
posted by dilaudid at 4:21 PM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Only the other day I was looking through the top movies by box office for various years to see what people actually laid down money for.

It was very informative, if frequently horrifying.
posted by Artw at 4:31 PM on October 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


Box Office Mojo was a comprehensive and relatively easy to use source for this data. IMDB is the exact opposite. The fact that the IMDB page itself still points people back to BOM suggests that this was done hastily and shoddily.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:34 PM on October 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


Yeah, what Horace Rumpole just said - Box Office Mojo was great for simple, easy-to-use charts with clear information. IMDB is a mess by comparison. No notice at all, either? Kind of a slap to the users who visited regularly. Thanks, Amazon.
posted by mediareport at 4:37 PM on October 10, 2014


Apparently they were down yesterday for server issues (and this downtime may just be a poorly handled continuation of that. or not.), and two days ago the BOM twitter account tweeted something about a feature that would be posted in three weeks. So it's all very confusing, and there has been no official word on anything yet.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 4:40 PM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


[conspiracy theory] Amazon is doing this to make nice with the movie companies, who perhaps demanded this as part of delivering new content to Prime video streaming or maybe selling digital firms. [/conspiracy theory]
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:41 PM on October 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Where did BOM get its data? This seems like a niche ripe for a good non-commercial, grassroots solution.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:44 PM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


And is the old data still cached?
posted by Artw at 4:45 PM on October 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


.
posted by oceanjesse at 4:51 PM on October 10, 2014


Aha. You can sort of cajole imdb into giving you the same thing, though it's more of a pain in the ass to get to. No idea about finer grain information.
posted by Artw at 4:51 PM on October 10, 2014


What was wrong with Idiocracy?
posted by oneironaut at 4:53 PM on October 10, 2014


What was wrong with Idiocracy?

It flopped.
posted by brundlefly at 5:19 PM on October 10, 2014


My god do people talk about the bloody thing though.
posted by Artw at 5:25 PM on October 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


Didn't you hear? It's prescient!
posted by brundlefly at 5:27 PM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Idiocracy is a perfectly enjoyable little flick; it's just nowhere near as clever as people seem to think it is. It's a dopey comedy whose central joke is "boy, other people sure are dumb, aren't they?". (People who think this constitutes profound sociopolitical insight, ironically, don't realize that they are the butt of the joke.)

I still don't understand why anyone outside of the industry would have any need or desire for detailed box office numbers. Is this one of those hobbies like trainspotting, where the numbers are a point unto themselves, not a means toward some other end? Serious question.

If the raw data is readily available somewhere (or can be crowdsourced), building a replacement for the dearly departed BOM might be a fun weekend coding project. I'd like to better understand how this thing worked.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:45 PM on October 10, 2014


Those numbers were useful for scholarly pursuits.
posted by cashman at 5:49 PM on October 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


Idiocracy didn't so much flop as it was completely ignored by Fox once they saw what had happened and freaked out about offending Starbucks and Costco and Carl's Jr. There was absolutely no publicity, not even a press kit, the film opened quietly in seven cities and and I'm not sure they kept any prints. The film was okay, Terry Crews is absolutely insane, but I don't know if it merited such a response from Fox.
posted by Spatch at 5:56 PM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


The website I've always used for this sort of information is the-numbers.com, if that helps.
posted by KHAAAN! at 5:57 PM on October 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


Count me as another who is cheesed off at this arbitrary change, seemingly only to benefit multi-billion-dollar conglomerates while leaving actual curious movie fans out of the equation. More than once I had linked to BOM on the blue, usually in discussions of how box office success and posterity are orthogonal. The go-to example was perpetual #1 on imdb, The Shawshank Redemption, which at its peak was well behind the deathless classics The Specialist, Jason's Lyric, Timecop, The River Wild and Only You at the box office. Now you will have to take my word for it.

We have always been at war with Eastasia.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:00 PM on October 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Man, that was one of my top 10 visited sites. I also like Box Office Guru, but it's nowhere near as informational.
posted by Huck500 at 6:08 PM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I assume Idiocracy eventually made money anyway, it also developed a cult following. Not as large as Office Space of course.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:52 PM on October 10, 2014


Ugh. Box Office Mojo was super useful. This is like when TV Tattle disappeared -- although that had a happy ending.
posted by roger ackroyd at 7:48 PM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Even if you're not a wonk, box office figures are useful for a simple reason: they are the leading indicator for whether the people who made a movie you liked are going to have the chance to make another movie, which you might also like.

Hope! (Despair.)
posted by chimpsonfilm at 8:01 PM on October 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


I do submit that "box office" as a metric is into its senescence. An increasing amount of business is streaming and there are few reliable figures for that, particularly with Amazon and Netflix basically releasing no data at all.

How much of Mojo is on the Internet Archive probably not much, and was the Archive Team alerted beforehand at all probably not?
posted by dhartung at 1:30 AM on October 11, 2014


I'm growing increasingly convinced that the best minds of our generation are being bought up by the mega internet companies not to improve their products or services but to prevent them from becoming the competition.
posted by srboisvert at 6:27 AM on October 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


I do submit that "box office" as a metric is into its senescence. An increasing amount of business is streaming and there are few reliable figures for that, particularly with Amazon and Netflix basically releasing no data at all.

True enough. But what we are talking about is the loss of historical data. A browse through BOM was always fascinating to reveal how much movie distribution had changed in the last few decades. Beverly Hills Cop is in modern terms your basic summer tentpole action comedy. It was released in December, which seems like box office suicide; however, it was #1 for the next fourteen weeks or something and occasionally still topping the charts six months after release (I cannot tell you how long now because, you know). Movies used to stay in the top ten for stretches that seem absurd by current standards: even with the site going back to only 1980 as it did, you could look and see that thirty years ago today, something that had come out at the end of July was still selling plenty of tickets. Now something that old is long gone onto DVD and streaming. And best of all you could (with the same bafflement you look at pictures of your teenage hairstyle and wonder what ever possessed you to think that was a good idea), you could reflect in the passing strangeness of a culture that made each of the Police Academy movies in its turn a box office smash.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:03 AM on October 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


But what we are talking about is the loss of historical data.

Why I mentioned the Archive Team. In any case, they got that data from somewhere themselves, and so I doubt the data is lost permanently, just this nifty interface to it. It would be kind to the community to make it available in some sort of static form, but I haven't gotten that vibe from imdb since at least the sale to Amazon.
posted by dhartung at 3:19 PM on October 11, 2014


We have always been at war with Eastasia.

1984 has always been available on the Kindle.
posted by MikeKD at 4:35 PM on October 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sorry, but did they bring it back already? I just went to the site and it seemed normal like always.
posted by dogwalker at 10:33 PM on October 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Huh.

Well that was weird.
posted by Artw at 11:38 PM on October 11, 2014


Box Office Mojo Returns After One-Day Absence

SUITS UN-NOOSE JUICE NEWS
posted by dhartung at 12:08 AM on October 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Idiocracy is not simply about laughing at the dummies, but is a fairly faithful retelling of Rip Van Winkle. The movie, just like the story, connects the idea of the destruction of the main characters world due to the apathetic over enjoyment of lesser diversions. It's a morality tale with the basic premise that hard work pays off, or - lack of doesn't. The movie satirizes pop culture, and the audience's enjoyment thereof, through extending out the idea 'stupid is as stupid does'. They even insert a proxy for the audience who sits around enjoying people getting whacked in the groin. During that scene the movie allows the actual audience to enjoy the very same low brow entertainment. Which really isn't the fictional bit at all, as that has been used as the central idea for candid camera shows since at least the '80s.
I don't think stupidity is necessarily caused by apathy, or lack of mature taste, but the movie does make some interesting connections between them.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:28 AM on October 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Reps for Amazon were not immediately available for comment.

Well, let's hope they're available on Monday for comment.
posted by mediareport at 8:03 AM on October 12, 2014


Now everyone is tight lipped about it, like it's some kind of super-secret.

Bullshit inside power move of some kind?
posted by Artw at 12:38 PM on October 13, 2014


Bullshit inside power move of some kind?

Or someone fumbled and pushed the wrong server configuration just before leaving for their yearly offsite?
posted by effbot at 11:37 AM on October 18, 2014


Entirely plausible, but I'd expect the reaction to that to be more "whoops, these things happen!" - flat out telling people you will never comment on it I weird.
posted by Artw at 11:41 AM on October 18, 2014


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