Quite by chance today, I was looking up some information about a movie on IMDb, and happened to click on ‘rank’ in the top right hand corner. What I discovered is that if you then click on, ‘view rank on IMDbPro’, it takes you to a complete cast listing with each actor’s actual Star Meter number. It’s entirely possible that I just never knew this before, or maybe it’s a recent computer glitch, and access to non-subscribers will get shut down soon, but this led to some fascinating discoveries.
Now, I’m not looking to make this a competitive fandom thing where, ‘my actor guy is higher ranked than your guy’, even if only because the rankings fluctuate from week to week, but I was honestly astounded by how highly Richard Armitage ranked compared to others in the cast, when I looked up The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug. When you think of all the pretty big name actors in that particular cast, it may surprise you to know that Armitage (189) only ranked lower than two others- Benedict Cumberbatch (52), and Evangeline Lilly (68).
I’d honestly love to know how this shakes out- what has Richard Armitage, for instance, done to rank higher than Martin Freeman (319)- the Hobbit himself, who, although absent from promotional activities for the DVD release of DOS, has been seen in a well publicised trailer for a new TV series, namely Fargo? Do Armitage fans look up news articles about their man more frequently than say, fans of Orlando Bloom, Lee Pace, Luke Evans or, to be fair to both sexes, Cate Blanchett? All are busy, working actors with an established fan base, yet, for this week at least, rank below Armitage, as does Sir Ian McKellen, who has a new X-Men movie coming out next month.
I’m in no way suggesting that Richard Armitage doesn’t deserve this particular place in the IMDb chart, quite the contrary, but I’m curious to know how much publicity it takes to make a difference here, in a profession ruled by popularity and public perception. Since Armitage has only recently added to his list of projects on IMDb, it’s obviously other factors that have kept his ranking at such a steadily high level. Personally, I’d award him extra brownie points for every time he’s had to sit down for an interview and articulately answer a variation on the same set of questions, including the height of dwarves, the application of prosthetics and working on a green screen set.
We’re fortunate in the Richard Armitage fandom to have regular IMDb update reports on Armitage’s own ranking, as well as all his current projects, provided each week on tumblr by Sahraobsessed. Scroll through the blog entries, if you wish to track Armitage’s ranking fluctuations.
An odd surprise for me in all this, which really shouldn’t be one at all, is just how large those ranking numbers get- to state the obvious, there are an awful lot of actors out there, all of whom have an IMDb listing, that largely fly beneath the public radar. If I’d been able to screen shot the entire cast, you’d see numbers well into the hundreds of thousands.
There’s plenty to ponder here- the vagaries of the rankings, and how they manifest in terms of public profile. If you rank in the top 50, your photo is displayed in the list of ‘trending celebrities’, further enhancing your already high place in the awareness of the movie going and TV watching public.