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What Is Box Office Mojo and Why Should You Care? (UPDATED)

Here's why the site's disappearance for several days was so important to the Internet.
There was a time when nerds like us at SJF would have to open a newspaper to see who won the weekend box office battle. But all that changed when Box Office Mojo came to town. A site that brought tears to OCD's and movie finance buffs alike, BOM was like a Mecca for the numbers behind the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Curious who was the box office champ in the Summer of 1998? BOM. Wanted to compare Tom Cruise opening weekends to see if the actor's stock had fallen? BOM.

In 2008, it was bought by another movie site IMDB, who in turn is owned by your friends at Amazon. During that time, not much changed - the site continued to let the numbers do the talking. But its disappearance from the Web this week - and its subsequent return with no explanation from IMDB - has left us to ponder much bigger questions about its future.


The event took the entire Internet by surprise: one day it was there, the next wrapped into IMDB. As a result, Twitter came alive denouncing the move, perhaps forcing the company to change their minds on Sunday to turn the site the back on. And with these moves come speculation: is BOM eventually moving to a pay site? If that's the case, where will fans get their weekly (free) fix of box office data before it reaches more commercial sites to be scrubbed and packaged for the masses?

Only time will tell if the move back to the living is permanent or the beginning of a new pay structure, something which seems to be a trend at the place where free and information used to congregate. Should that happen, it's likely another site will take its place, as IMDB's Pro version only seems to be utilized by people in the entertainment industry; Box Office Mojo is used by just about any person who loves movies. That makes it a commodity whose value to the 'Net is almost immeasurable. Perhaps its owners should think twice next time about removing such treasure until they understand its true value to the people.

If you have any doubt about this, try like-minded sites like boxoffice.com and the-numbers.com - both are decent by unfulfilling alternatives. For now, the site that was founded in 1999 by Brandon Gray and sold to IMDB in 2008 is back but its future is uncertain.

Discuss this story with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.

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