The Latest Wordle Clone Is Perfect For Movie Geeks

The Latest Wordle Clone Is Perfect For Movie Geeks
Screenshot: Joel Cunningham

In the beginning, there was Wordle. The Wordle was online, and the Wordle was good. All things sprang from it, were fruitful, and multiplied: Four Wordles at once. Eight Wordles at once. Maths Wordle. Subway Wordle. Gay Wordle. And just as my faith faltered and I began to wonder if Wordles would overrun the Earth, arrived my own personal saviour for times of greatest trial and deepest boredom: A version of Wordle based on box office trivia.

The parts of the brain many people use to house socially acceptable information, like the winners of various sports contests or useful historical facts, I have spent decades cramming full of box office stats. Name a movie released in the last 30 years, and chances are good I can give you a rough estimate of its final U.S. theatrical gross. If it was a really popular movie, I can probably even tell you what it made on its opening weekend. More so than most trivia, this information is entirely meaningless — knowing a movie’s box office gross sadly doesn’t entitle you to a cut of it — or it was, until I discovered the Box Office Game.

Like Worldle, this browser-based game offers you a new puzzle every day. But instead of trying to guess a particular word or complete a maths equation, you’re trying to round out the box office top five for a particular weekend. You’re shown the name of the studio that released the film, along with what it made that week at its total gross up to that point. Correctly guessing one of the five films on the list will earn you 200 points.

Screenshot: Joel Cunningham

If you need more help — which you probably do, unless you have perfect recall and study Box Office Mojo in your spare time (guilty on one count) — you can “spend” some of those 200 points on a clue in the form of the film’s tagline, genre, director, cast, or final gross, with the more revealing hints reducing your total score more significantly. The maximum score each day is 1,000 points, so you can aim simply to get them all right, or try to compete for Film Twitter bragging rights.

I first learned about the Box Office Game on Reddit, in a forum dedicated to my favourite movie podcast, Blank Check With Griffin and David. Every episode of that show focuses on a single film in a particular director’s filmography, and each ends with David quizzing Griffin about the top films at the box office the week that movie premiered. (At this point you are either making a face at your computer or rushing to your favourite podcast app to subscribe.)

Redditor u/hebleb (real name: Mark Uvari) created the game, inspired by both the Wordle craze and Griffin’s uncanny ability to recall what film was number three in theatres on a random weekend two years after he was born. A software engineer in his daily life with eight years of experience creating web and mobile apps, Uvari told me via Reddit chat that he’s, “a fan of trivia in general, although I am also admittedly very bad at my own game.”

The data that drives the game comes from the-numbers.com; Uvari also used an API to pull all the specific info about a given film from the Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Up until the 1980s, box office data wasn’t reliably compiled, so the puzzles will always involve a particular weekend from only the past 40 years — which is still enough road to run around 2,000 daily games.

As Wordle clones go, the Box Office Game is definitely of a narrower niche, but it also serves as a good illustration of the internet’s power to unite. Because no matter what your weird obsession, you’re only a few clicks away from a whole community of people who will make you look like a mere dabbler. Also, I’m finally better at one of them than my wife.

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