Context Is Important
Being a huge movie buff, I was enthralled by the success of the opening weekend of Incredibles 2, Variety’s headline read, “’Incredibles 2’ Shatters Records With Heroic $180 Million Opening” (Rebecca Rubin). WOW! Having loved the first one and looking forward to this sequel, a headline like this makes me want to see it even more; and I will. But even within my excitement, I am cognizant of context, which allows me to objectively frame the appropriate perspective around this achievement. This is a critical step in consuming and understanding information, which leads to questions. For example, just how “heroic” is this accomplishment?
Social Media is an integral part of how we communicate today. In just over a decade we have participated in revolutionizing how we share and consume information. With more and more information available at our fingertips, many of us consume more headlines and opening paragraphs, but less detail. So, it is important to remember that a key component of any communication, including Social Media, is that in receiving information, we must understand it. This requires context.
So how does this pertain to movies? Where is this presumed context gap? Well, the success (or failure) of movies is generally reported based on gross receipts, the dollars taken in for ticket sales. While this is a valid and readily available measurement, wouldn’t a more accurate measurement be the raw number of admission tickets sold? This would eliminate variables such as inflation and technological advancements (e.g., 3D movies) which cause ticket prices to consistently rise over time. These factors make it ever more likely that a new successful [popular] movie will surpass the gross receipts of prior releases.
Therefore, because of the way we have been presented information with the gross receipt measurement, when we think of the most successful [domestic] movies of all time we typically think of list like the one published by Box Office Mojo, (June 18, 2018; http://www.boxofficemojo.com/alltime/domestic.htm):
|1||Star Wars: The Force Awakens||~$ 937M|
|3||Black Panther||~$ 700M|
|4||Avengers: Infinity War||~$ 664M|
However, given a more level context, such as using Box Office Mojo’s “Adjusted for Ticket Price Inflation” list, we gain a very different perspective (June 18, 2018; http://www.boxofficemojo.com/alltime/adjusted.htm):
|1||Gone With the Wind||~$1,851M|
|2||Star Wars IV: A New Hope||~$1,632M|
|3||The Sound of Music||~$1,305M|
|4||ET: The Extra-Terrestrial||~$1,299M|
|11||Star Wars: The Force Awakens||~$ 990M|
Yes, Social Media is great, and it has revolutionized the way we share and consume information. But we should never forget that context is important, and that we must think, and question as we consume information.
Having said that, I still look forward to see Incredibles 2!