Amazon’s acquies

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Box Office Mojo, a site created nine years ago by a movie buff who was frustrated by the lack of reliable information about ticket sales, has been acquired by one of the most popular online repositories of movie, television and celebrity trivia, the Internet Movie Database.

The deal, quietly completed in the third quarter, was disclosed today in an email to readers that promised Box Office Mojo would continue to operate as a stand-alone business, producing analysis and tracking box-office sales.

There combination brings together two entities known among film aficionados for providing extensive data about the industry.

‘Mojo does to box office what IMDb has done with movies and TV and celebrities, which is bring a serious passion for getting things right,’ said Keith Simanton, IMDb’s managing editor. IMDb is owned by Amazon.


Brandon Gray, Box Office Mojo’s 32-year-old president and publisher, said the site brings together his two major interests, math and movies. He started the site in 1999 to offer information that he himself craved -- comprehensive box office data. By 2002, he was able to set aside other writing jobs and focus on his passion project full-time.

Mojo’s online momentum validated Gray’s hunch that other movie fans would be interested in the sophisticated analysis of the industry’s hits and misses, and amused by his quirky sensibilities (Mojo keeps tabs on genres that you won’t find in industry trades, including ‘fat suit comedies’ and ‘slacker/stoner’ flicks.)

‘It isn’t simply a numbers game that studio executives are interested in,’ Gray said. ‘People who love movies want to root for their favorite movies to do well. If a certain type of movie does well, that typically inspires Hollywood to make similar movies down the road.’

Online measurement firm comScore Media Metrix estimates Box Office Mojo attracted about 400,000 visitors last month, which would not rank it among the top 20 online film sites. Gray and partner, Sean Saulsbury, have nonetheless built their business on advertising, subscriptions and licensing its data.

Simanton and Gray offered no details about what the combined sites might do in the future.

‘What we’re working on right now, to be brutally honest, is to make sure that the integration works,’ said Simanton. ‘And that the publication of Mojo continues to be as strong and as consistent as it has been, because you can screw these things up.’

--Dawn C. Chmielewski