Thursday, June 29, 2006

From the land where Up is Down

War is Peace and Slavery is Freedom.

Tim Lambert at Deltoid writes about the mud being laid on with a trowel to the doco-movie "An Inconvenient Truth".

How is An Inconvenient Truth doing at the box office? Pretty well. The gross takings have increased every weekend and have almost reached $10,000,000. It's already the number 7 on the all time box office list for documentaries.

But that's not how it's being spun by the wingnuts:

UPI reports that Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, hasn't done so well after a promising start:

Former U.S. vice-President Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" has seen its ticket sales plummet after a promising start.
The film dropped from its record $70,333 per play to $12,334 during its third week and its numbers have continued to fall as the film opens in smaller cities and suburbs across the country.

This is a text-book example of lying with statistics. As the movie is shown in smaller cities and suburbs, the average take per session falls -- but the total take increases. Strangely enough, UPI and Variety report that increased take as plummetting downwards. How curious. The right-wing media would lie about something? Say it ain't so!

Deltoid shows an impressive graph, showing clear growth, here. As the graph shows, the film is not only still making money, but the amount of money they make each week is continuing to grow.

Of course the wingnuts don't want you to know that, so what to do, what to do? There has never been a statistic that can't be distorted, so they focus on the per-session average, ignoring the fact that there are a lot more sessions. Of course, that means pretending that Up actually means Down, but hey, so long as the wingnuts continue to drink that Kool-Aid, it's all good.

Good Math, Bad Math has a good analysis of the dodgy statistics being used by UPI.

[...]when it was first released, it was being shown in a small number of showings in a small number of theaters. When it was premiered in 4 theaters, they sold out standing room only - so the gross per showing was very high. Now, four weeks later, it's showing in over 500 theaters, and the individual showings aren't selling out anymore. But more people are seeing it - every weekend, the number of people seeing it has increased!

The Powerline article (and the UPI article which it cites) are playing games with numbers to skew the results. They want to say that Al Gore's movie is tanking in the theaters, so they pick a bizzare statistic to support that, even though it's highly misleading. In fact, it's one of the best performing documentaries ever. It's currently the number seven grossing documentary of all time, and it's about $600,000 off from becoming number 5.
(Emphasis in original.)

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