or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Reference Question of the Week – 9/23/07

   September 29th, 2007
The Simpsons Movie cover The Brink's Job cover

A patron called in with this question:

Can you tell me the box office grosses for two movies? I need to know how much The Simpsons Movie and The Brink's Job each made.

While he was talking, I quickly went to the Internet Movie Database and searched for The Simpsons Movie. I had never looked up box office figures there before, but it sounded like something they would have.

And they did - clicking on the Box Office/Business link under "Other Info" on the left side shows an extensive breakdown of box office grosses.

Unfortunately, The Brink's Job did not have this link, so I told the patron I'd keep looking and call him when I found it.

I next went to the general internet, trying various searches like "the brinks job +gross," "movie grosses," etc., but didn't have much luck. I did find a few useful websites to remember (some with pop-up ads):

But none of them had The Brink's Job - either it was too old (it came out in 1978), or it didn't gross enough to be noteworthy. I also tried all of our print film encyclopedias, but couldn't find this figure anywhere.

I called the patron back to let him know, and he said it was okay. It turns out these movies are his daughter's and mother's favorite movies, and he was just curious to compare their grosses.

But still - it bothers me not to be able to find an answer. Bleh. I'm going to be looking for this all week.

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3 Responses to “Reference Question of the Week – 9/23/07”

  1. Lynn Says:

    Hi, I hate it when reference questions turn into stumpers… it drives me nuts. So, since we have a film theatre at our library (and their staff have industry contacts) – I passed your question on to them. The reply: “Not much… US$9.4 million on the domestic market.” They didn’t have figures handy for the international market.

    This is corroborated by two sources I found on the Internet: 1) A Director’s Spotlight of William Friedkin which notes that few saw “The Brink’s Job” (http://www.firstshowing.net/2007/05/21/director-spotlight-william-friedkin/)
    and 2) A site that talks about movies made by Mormons or about the Mormon faith – they also reference the $9.4 million figure (http://www.ldsfilm.com/box/box.html).

    Hope this helps.

  2. Brian Herzog Says:

    Thank you very much – I passed the figure along to my patron, and he was very appreciative.

    You’ve got to love Reference 2.0.

  3. Brian Herzog Says:

    Another source for box office totals (and more): http://www.mediabynumbers.com