Monthly Archives: July 2013


It’s come to my attention, via a reader comment, that the #1 lists I’ve been using are not accurate.

The lists that Box Office Boffo is based on come from Wikipedia. I have spent several hours studying the Variety archives on microfiche, and I’ve determined that my reader is correct. The “true” lists, if one chooses to view Variety that way, are quite different, approximately 50 percent different, for the period I’ve already covered (1970-1974). Of the 88 movies I’ve reviewed, about half don’t appear in the Variety lists at all, and there’s a group of similar size that do appear in the Variety lists that I have never reviewed. In some sense that leaves Boffo as less comprehensive than I’d like it to be, so I’m acting to fix that problem.

The Variety findings are real interesting. I’ve decided that I’d prefer to “reboot” the site by reviewing the movies starting over from 1970. When I encounter a movie I’ve already reviewed, the existing review will get slotted in at the appropriate place. Reviews that would not have reason to appear in the new listing will remain on the website in a different location. (I’m proud of those reviews, and I don’t want them to disappear.) All of the subsidiary pages tracking chronological order, tags, and so forth will have to be built from scratch.

Please bear with me in the next few weeks as I effectively zero out the website so that I can start the process from 0001 again. I should be posting new reviews before too long.

The Variety numbers are based on total weekly grosses. The movie that made the most money in a given week is the #1 movie for that week, with no adjustments. I’ll have more to say about the differences between the two lists (Wikipedia and Variety) in the weeks to come.

The weekly tables in Variety make for very interesting reading. The most notable result is how different the distribution patterns are to the way the studios do it now. In other words, movies frequently reached #1 much later than the release date, unlike today. In some cases movies did not hit #1 until several months after their release date.

Furthermore, the new list is a bit more friendly to mass-market blockbusters, genre movies, and crowd-pleasing entertainments. It’s a scruffier group, and in many ways a more interesting group. I like the new list. It feels less like what the Upper East Side was watching, and more like what America was watching.

Thank you for paying attention. I’ll be back soon with further announcements and reviews. In the meantime, if you see pages vanishing from the site or whatnot, it’s all just part of retooling things so that I can post a new 0001.