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Weekend Data Science Project: Movie Buzz

As a quick weekend project, I decided to finally dive into the Reddit API to see what people were talking about on r/movies. For those of you who don't know me, I'm a huge movie geek so this felt like a good way to spend the weekend.

R/movies is a forum dedicated to discussing movies where users can post reviews, articles, trailers, and discussion questions. So after setting up some API keys and whatnot, I pulled 464 recent posts from the forum and extracted the names of the films that were being talked about most. Below are some quick descriptives of the posts and comments on r/movies over the past few days.

The “Most Posted’ About Films

After cleaning the titles of the posts to extract the names of films, I found that the 12 most posted about films were primarily new and upcoming ones. They included recent Oscar nominees (Arrival and Manchester by the Sea), newly released films (Rings), and several upcoming films (Life, The Lego Batman Movie, Kong: Skull Island, The Strangers 2, and Power Rangers).

The “Most Talked” About Films

While these films were the most posted about, I wanted to see which films people actually cared about upvoting or commenting on. So I quickly broke down the average number of comments and upvotes by film.

We can see that the three most upvoted films were also the most talked about. Kong: Skull Island, Power Rangers, and Arrival received the most attention in upvotes as well as number of comments. While posts about Kong drastically beat out the competition in upvotes, Arrival was far and away the most talked about.


When I examined these posts in more detail, I found that one post greatly skewed Kong's average upvote score. Kong's new IMAX poster got 14,429 upvotes! When looking at the other high ranking posts, I found that the new Power Rangers poster also got a high number of upvotes with 3,148.

Official Discussions

Arrival's average number of comments was also skewed by one post in particular. Arrival's "Official Discussion" page received 8,736 comments (8,000 more than the next most talked about post, the Kong IMAX poster). The Rings "Official Discussion" page and The Lego Batman Movie's "Megathread" also gained a decent amount of attention with 448 and 334 comments, respectively.

Releasing a poster and or launching an official discussion seem to be the most effective methods for bringing attention to a film at r/movies. Just to be sure, I broke down the number of upvotes and comments by post type. Again, we find that movie posters are by far and away the most popular posts with both highest number of comments and upvotes.

The ‘Least Disliked” Films

Now that I know which films people are talking about, I thought I'd take a cursory look into what people are actually saying about them. Using Natural Language Processing and Sentiment Analysis, I quickly examined whether the comments people were making were mostly positive or negative.

In general, all the movies had mostly negative comments (all movies analyzed here had less than 50% positive comments). The two movies with the most positive comments, Everybody Wants Some!! and Manchester by the Sea, similarly had great critical reviews with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 86% and 95% respectively. So perhaps redditors share similar opinions to critics (but then again the third most positively talked about film, Rings, has a 7% on Rotten Tomatoes, so who knows). Also, the 4 movies with the most negative comments are all movies that aren't even out yet. People are talking a lot about LIFE, Power Rangers, and Kong: Skull Island, but they don't seem to be too happy about these movies.

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