Watchmen Who Knew?

In an alternate history, as the United States and the Soviet Union teeter on the edge of a nuclear war and being a superhero is illegal, who will save the world? Enter the Watchmen…

As graphic novel readers and teen librarians know, Watchmen delivers a complex plot that goes far beyond deconstructing the idea of a superhero. Here are some tidbits to help the rest of us understand the cult phenomenon that is Watchmen.

The Graphic Novel
o Watchmen is not only in Time magazine’s top 10 graphic novels list, it is included in Time magazine’s 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to Present.

o The original 12 issues of the Watchmen comic book series were published by DC Comics in 1986-87.

o After two decades the graphic novel is still selling. In 2007 about 100,000 copies were sold, but when the trailer for the “Watchmen” movie was shown before “The Dark Night” in July 2008, sales skyrocketed. By mid-August DC put another 900,000 copies into print to meet demand (over 62,500 copies sold in July/August 2008). “Watchmen” became the top selling graphic novel in 2008.

o In 2008 Warner Bros. Entertainment released a narrated version of the original comic called Watchmen: Motion Comics. The first chapter sold on iTunes and other digital stores for the 1986 cover price of $1.50. The Complete Motion Comic was released March 3, 2009.

The Movie
Opening night midnight viewings of the “Watchmen” generated $4.55 million in sales. The film opened in 1,595 theaters across the country and spread to 3,611 around the world, the most theaters ever to show an R-rated movie.

“Watchmen” was directed by Zack Snyder, and has been compared to Snyder’s 2007 feature film “300”, here are a few comparative stats from each opening weekends:
o While “Watchmen” brought in a total of $55.7 million in opening weekend tickets sales, “300” had a much stronger opening weekend with $70 million in tickets sales.
o The movie-goer’s desire to see action films on IMAX screens brought in $5.5 million in IMAX ticket sales for “Watchmen” during its opening weekend; “300” reached 65% of that mark with $3.6 million.
o Snyder’s “300” opened on 62 domestic IMAX screens and “Watchmen” opened on 124.
o “Watchmen” is 45 minutes longer than “300”, making it hard for theaters to have more than one showing per evening. “300’s” shorter running time gave theaters the opportunity to play two showings per evening, which likely had an affect on ticket sales.
o “300” had a production budget of $60 million. “Watchmen’s” budget is reported to be between $120 and $150 million.

Intrigued? Learn more at the following websites.

Watchmen movie and graphic novel:
www.afterwatchmen.com

DC Comics:

http://www.dccomics.com/dcu/

Watchmen writer Alan Moore:

http://www.alanmoorefansite.com/

Comic and graphic novel sales/ trends:

http://www.icv2.com/index.php

Movie box office data:

http://www.the-numbers.com/

-R. Sean Lamborne
sean@lrs.org

References

Gustines, G.G. (2008, August 13). Film trailer aids sales of ‘Watchmen’ novel. The New York Times Online. Retrieved on March 7, 2009 from http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/14/arts/14arts-FILMTRAILERA_BRF.html?_r=1&ref=arts&oref=slogin

ICV2. Top 100 Graphic Novels Actual – August 2008 [Data File]. March 10, 2009 from http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/13297.html

ICV2. Top 100 Graphic Novels Actual – July 2008 [Data File]. March 10, 2009 from http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/13104.html

Michael White. (2009, March 6). ‘Watchmen’ may open with $70 million, lift box office. Bloomberg.com Retrieved on March 7, 2009 from http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601088&sid=aiiSmRwjr8lQ&refer=muse

Paul William Tenny. (2009, March 10). Watchmen experiences mass walkouts in new york city. Newsvine.com. Retrieved on March 10, 2009 from http://pwtenny.newsvine.com/_news/2009/03/10/2527065-watchmen-experiences-mass-walkouts-in-new-york-city

The Numbers: Box Office Data, Movie Stars, Idle Speculation. Watchmen [Data File]. Retrieved March 10, 2009 from http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/2009/WATCH.php

Watchmen (2004, July 22). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved March 7, 2009 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watchmen#cite_note-57

POPULAR RESOURCES

  • Public Library Statistics & Profiles
    Dive into annual statistics from the Colorado Public Library Annual Report using our interactive tool, results tailored to trustees, and state totals and averages.
  • School Library Impact Studies
    School libraries have a profound impact on student achievement. Explore studies about this topic by LRS and other researchers in our comprehensive guide.
  • Fast Fact Reports
    Looking for a quick rundown of library research? Check out our Fast Facts, which highlight research and statistics about various library topics.

LIBRARYJOBLINE

See more @ LibraryJobline.org

ABOUT

LRS is part of the Colorado State Library, a unit of the Colorado Department of Education. We design and conduct library research for library and education professionals, public officials, and the media to inform practices and assessment needs. We partner with the Library and Information Science program at University of Denver's Morgridge College of Education to provide research fellowships to current MLIS students.

This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Staff & Contact Info