Fun with maps and movies

DCist takes note of Matt Yglesias’ tweet on the New York Times’ fantastic interactive map of various metropolitan areas, broken down by zip codes and how popular each of Netflix’s top 50 rentals of 2009 was in those areas.

The geographic patterns are fascinating, and quite revealing about the social and economic geography of the DC area.

Some screenshots (click to see full size):


Tyler Perry is popular in PG County, but not so much at Andrews AFB. Also note the other cities on the right.


Milk presents an almost complete opposite map of popularity.


Role Models. Complete with spikes in popularity at couple military bases (Andrews AFB, Fort Meyer, and Fort Meade) and two colleges (Georgetown and Maryland).

Absolutely great stuff.  Maps are available for 12 Metropolitan areas: New York, Boston, Chicago, DC, the Bay Area, LA, Seattle, the Twin Cities, Denver, ATL, Dallas and Miami.

3 comments to Fun with maps and movies

  • I live in 11237 now in Brooklyn. The list of most rented has some curious entries. Milk is number 4 and does well throughout Brooklyn, actually. But suspect that has more to do with socio-economics of who uses Netflix at all in the NY metro area. Which really is accounted for in their map.

  • Alex Block

    Yeah, there’s a bias in terms of the user base, to be sure. Still, it’s a lot of fun to look at.

    A couple other favorites – “New in Town” looks to be a horrible movie (critic score of 29), but since it’s set in Minnesota, it’s far more popular in Minneapolis than in any other metro area.

    There’s also a more distinct urban/suburban split in Minneapolis on some movies, perhaps owning to the lack of a serious geographic boundary and the relatively homogeneous population…

  • There are probably a lot of small-n issues here, but it’s fun to speculate. One of the nation’s gayest zipcodes, 94114, which contained Harvey Milk’s headquarters and the core of his district, was not so interested in Milk. Perhaps because literally everyone had trooped out to see it on the big screen?

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