frogstar's profile

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392 Points

Tue, Sep 14, 2021 8:40 AM

Location/Language Issues - Searches & Release Dates

I've had a couple of minor niggles for a while - perhaps someone can advise if I'm doing something wrong or whether they're just features of the site:

When I search on titles, the Search Suggestions dropdown seems to show me US titles rather than titles appropriate to my settings/location.

e.g. If I type in The Naked Truth (for the 1957 Terry Thomas film), it appears as "Your Past Is Showing" in the list. This happens regardless of whether I have my personal settings at UK or Original.

Related to this, the Release Date selection seems to be off. If I go to The Naked Truth (1957), it shows me the (France) release date which was about a week after the earliest UK screenings.

Again, is this something to do with how I've set my account up?

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Accepted Solution

Employee

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3 d ago

@frogstar  Thanks for the feedback.  You are not doing anything wrong here.  The suggestion search issue is a known localisation defect, sorry.  We are aware of it and there are plans to address it in the near to medium-term. 

The displayed release date is the earliest wide release in the country which matches your "Title display country / region" on https://www.imdb.com/preferences/general (or otherwise the country to which your IP address resolves).  If there's no wide release date for your country then we pick the earliest wide release date anywhere in the world.  As you can see from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050749/releaseinfo the UK date is a Manchester-only limited showing which does not qualify to be featured on the main detail page.  Assuming you are in the UK, there is no wide release date, since the January 1958 date is only for London so we deault to the earliest wide release anywhere, which in this case is France.  The way to fix this case would be to add the UK wide release date if you know it. 

We have both debated this policy internally and tested this with customers every which way.  If we default to the earliest date, regardless of how wide the release, then it spoils other cases instead. For example, Dune (2021) would then show-up as a 3 September release because it played at the Venice Film Festival even though most customers around the world would prefer to know when it opens wide in their country later this month/year.  There is some work pending on a wider placement for the "Coming Soon" release date widget at the top of the title page (for example see near the top right of Eternals) -- at the moment that date and label only show when the title has not released anywhere.  We have active plans to localise that release date so it would also appear in the case of Dune worldwide. 

Since we aim for completeness in the data and the pages have to be structured by rules which are universally applied, it's all a bit more complicated below the surface than it might otherwise appear.  Once all of the IMDb pages are served from our new technology, we will have some better options to control this and be more consistent and easier to understand. 

15 Messages

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392 Points

2 d ago

Thanks for your comprehensive response.

Good news about search results.

Now that you've point it out, I also appreciate that selecting a release date to display is a minefield.

I can't resist chucking in my tuppence worth with a couple of observations/comments/suggestions:

1) If memory serves, until recently (40 years ago?) many films never had a true UK-wide release date but were staggered (I remember having to go out of area to see Excalibur in 1981). If that data is captured accurately and completely in the future, then UK release dates would never appear for those films.

This could be at least partially resolved by giving the user a dates setting (earliest/location), in the same way that there's a setting for film title (original/location).

2) Regarding the second problem you pointed out, of films showing up way earlier than expected: to my simple mind, a Screening (test, preview, festival) is not the same as even a limited Release. I know it would be a nightmare, but splitting those two in some way would then allow reams of Screening data to be captured without impacting on the displayed release dates.

Thanks for your time, and I appreciate all the things you guys are doing to deliver a useful, interesting and comprehensive platform (even if I still miss chat, lol).