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Creative Dataplot Asks: Does Money Make A Movie Better?

"Constellations: Career Paths of Famous Directors" examines how budgets affect the IMdB ratings of legends like Allen, Coppola, Spielberg, and more.

I've heard a million film student friends gripe about how the theses of certain peers only get attention and accolades due to money-funded flash: lush Arri Alexa-enabled cinematography acquired without a Kickstarter; costumes and soundtracks "sponsored" by a parent's friend's whatever. Does it really matter? I don't know, but a good story is a good story, regardless of budget. This has been proven time and time again by countless DIY bedroom projects that are now iconic (Eraserheadsex, lies, and videotape; The Blair Witch Project, et. al).


While the argument of does money make a movie better goes on,Jakub Wolak and Rosanna Kurrer at have created an awesome map that may shed some light on the debate.

Specifically, "Constellations: Career Paths of Famous Directors" examines how budgets affect the IMdB ratings of certain directors' work over their careers from 1960-2013, using legends such as Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh, and Stanley Kubrick as examples. Each "star" on the map represents a movie from the director's filmography, while the horizontal axis represents the budget and the vertical axis depicts the IMdB members' ratings per film.

The map isn't a revelation about possible correlations between art quality and financial backing, but interestingly both Francis Ford Coppola and Stanley Kubrick appear to fair better with shoe-string budgets, whereas directors like Woody Allen and the Coen Brothers have had fairly consistent budgets throughout decades of filmmaking. We'd like to see this map updated with the addition of David Lynch and Jodorowsky, both noted for swearing off big financial backing in favor of total creative control.

Who would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments section and see some screenshots of various filmmakers' "quality constellations" below:

via Visualizing