Sometimes there’s a map that could be just about anything. This map, from kinomatics, is one of those maps:

ScreeningsMapAus-300x209

This map is part of a piece that is completely dead right about the never-ending calendar of film releases. Hobbit movies come out in December, but stay in theatres longer. Does that make them movies from their year of release, or the next one? The “Hobbit Year” solves the problem nicely, and you can also imagine an overlapping Marvel Universe year.

I’ve run into this micro-periodizing problem myself – I’ve opted to solve it by using Variety’s calendar-year grosses. My approach creates some problems — it pushes some December-release hits lower on the list — but release patterns were a little different between 1960-1975 or so, which made me opt for calendar year.

Release patterns are really the problem I have with the map of places The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug played. The map of Hobbit locations looks almost exactly the same as a map of Australia’s population (from here):

Australia_Population_Map

In the end, the two messages of Kinomatics’ Hobbit map is, “every theatre in Australia played it” and “the major urban centres played it before regional locations.” I’m all for saying the things we leave unsaid, but…

The Hobbit map shows the booking pattern for any blockbuster: open wide, on multiple screens in the biggest theatres you can find, and try to get as much in the first weekend as possible, while it’s an event, not a slog ruined by word of mouth. In Australia you’d then move out to the regions (and maybe whatever remote locations you can find a bit later). For a prestige film you’d hit Melbourne and Sydney and ignore/skip Launceston and Cairns.

Similarly, you could make a map of prestige films being released in North America and every map would have really dark circles for the first cities: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Toronto. Similarly, the really light circles for later playdates would be in smaller less film-buffy cities like Nashville, Cleveland, and St Louis.

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