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Visualizing the Reel World with Tableau

As a Tableau user, I’ve always wanted to transfigure my creative instinct into a dashboard storyline. In this article, I will show you how to transform a "Hollywood most profitable movies" dataset into a database of Hollywood blockbuster movies (HMDb) so that a user can filter down a movie of his choice and end up on an IMDB page.

I chose Tableau for this analysis because the software allows us to step out of the box and look at the data in a new way. With its ease of use, it also provides dynamic visualizations in minutes. Here is an easy step-by-step workflow to follow:

tableau 1

The dataset is available here.

Connecting the Data

To start, it is necessary for us to understand the dataset structure in the data source view. This dataset includes 74 rows and 8 dimensions and measures such as the following:


Film: Movie name
Genre: Type of movie
Year(Release Date) : 2007-2011
Audience Score: Audience reviews in %
Rotten Tomatoes: Critics reviews in %
Lead Studios: Studio name of the movie
World Wide Gross

In order to add movie information to the dashboard, I added movie links, actor, director information, and IMDB score from a Kaggle movie dataset.

With this dashboard, a single user should be able to filter to his movie of choice and receive information about the movie as well as a link to its IMDB page. Before making any story or dashboard, it’s a good idea to create a draft to make sure that all the visualizations connect.

Building the Visualization

Set Up Calculated Fields

Select "create a calculated field option" by choosing the dropdown from any column to calculate overall rank by giving 50% weight to audience score and 50% weight to Rotten Tomatoes so that the user can get the top 20 movies according to the audience and Rotten Tomatoes choice filtered by genre.


Create a top 20 movie Database Table

After setting up a calculated field, go to the sheet and drag the overall rank with audience and Rotten Tomatoes % as measures in the column field vs film and genre in the row field.

Lastly, apply a filter of Genre and top 20 films by Overall Score.


Add Movie Posters

Adding movie posters makes the visualization more interesting. Download the top 20 movie posters from the internet and save them in the Tableau repository folder in your local device.


Reload posters using shapes marks card

Select a new sheet and drag films to the column and then to the shapes marks card. Don’t forget to select shapes from the dropdown in the marks pane and add the film to the tooltip as well. Go to the shapes marks card and select custom shapes, then reload shapes, and add the movie poster respective to its name. Web scraping is another method to download all posters automatically from IMDB.


Create a word Cloud

To measure the movie success worldwide, we can also visualize film along with their worldwide gross. Instead of a typical bar graph, a word cloud may be an easier way to display this.

To do so, drag words column or dimension into the text section of the Level of Details pane. Then, drag the number of records measured to the size and color sections of the Level of Details pane. Choose a good color palette from the marks card and don't forget to attach the genre filter.


Add Bubble Chart Filter


Rather than using a simple and old check filter box, this bubble chart filters the entire dashboard based on an action filter. Drag the Genre to the Text in the marks card pane. Choose circle from the dropdown in the marks card pane and drag the overall score and worldwide gross to the size and color option. Then, measure as an average and assign a good color palette.

Add Movie Details

Create a calculated field movie info and add the movie detail headers. Using another sheet, drag the movie info to the column and desired information to the Text in the marks card pane as well as to the Tooltip in the marks card pane.

Create Movie Details for the Top-Liked Movies


Now, whenever a user selects a movie from the database table and word cloud, the dashboard will automatically highlight the movie across other charts. The movie information box will also highlight the movie selected and a link to an IMDB page will appear when the mouse hovers over it.

Setting up the Dashboard

Move Visualization Sheets

Drag all the visualization sheets to the dashboard and then to the storyline and place them to their suitable location. Tip: When saving a dashboard, always try to choose automatic because the dashboard automatically resizes to fill the window. Choose the bubble chart filter and select "Use as a filter" from the dropdown.

Add Interactivity

Lastly, to add interactivity between the visualizations, select "Actions" under the Dashboard dropdown from the upper menu bar. This highlights corresponding visualizations when one movie is selected in a database table.


Action Filter

For the movie information box to be highlighted with the text when selected from the table, check “Movie Details” from Target Sheets and then the rest of the sheets as shown from Source Sheets. Then, select “Exclude all values.”


Create Highlight Action

To highlight the movie selection, I created another highlight action. Again, select the table from Source Sheets and Movie Details,  Movie Database Table, and Movie Poster from Target Sheets.


Create Hyperlink Action

Finally, to pop up an IMDB page and add hyperlink action, select the "Mov Details" sheet which contains URL information. Choose the run action based on the “Select” criteria. Select the column that contains URLs in the URL section.



Saving to the Server

Save the dashboard into the tableau server by logging into the tableau server account.

The link to view this dashboard is available here  (the preferred browser is Chrome) and the workbook can be downloaded from the server as a twbx file.


This dashboard is an action-driven analysis that can be used to filter down to a particular movie and its IMDB page. By analyzing these insights, filmmakers and producers can get a better understanding of what makes a profitable movie. However, any movie lover can also use this to create a personal movie collection based on overall rank that can help him or her choose what movie to watch next.

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