Wikipedia:Top 25 Report
Top 25 Report: Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (January 18 to 24, 2015)
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Summary: It is pretty clear what the theme is this week: people. With the media on hiatus during the January dead zone (except for the astonishing performance of American Sniper) Wikipedia readers turned to their other main focus of interest: celebrity. More specifically, dead celebrity. Three of this list's subjects died this week, while three more either died fairly recently (Chris Kyle, Whitney Houston) or had their lives commemorated (Martin Luther King Jr.). Wikipedia readers' tendency to reduce Super Bowls to duels between rival quarterbacks meant that both New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Seattle Seahawks quaterback Russell Wilson appeared in the Top 25. Altogether, 19 of the top 25 slots went to people, or to articles related to them.
Rank Article Class Views Image Notes 1 Chris Kyle 5,275,697 America needs heroes it seems, because when Clint Eastwood gave her one, she embraced him for all she was worth. Viewing numbers for this murdered US soldier have pretty much doubled each of the last three weeks. It's hard to imagine a more perfectly formed hero; a man of superhuman ability (the most successful sniper in military history) and fatal compassion (his murderer was a PTSD-affected veteran whose pain he was hoping to ease on a shooting range) who now, in death, can never be corrupted or betray his own ideals. It is not surprising that America found her hero in a movie; after all, if the US Congress were a movie, it would have the second-lowest score on IMDb, only beating Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas. 2 American Sniper (film) 1,511,250 Clint Eastwood has always had astute commercial instincts as a filmmaker, instincts that appear only to have sharpened with age. But even he must have been flabbergasted at the commercial reception given to his latest film, American Sniper. The biography of sniper Chris Kyle has earned over $200 million in just 11 days of wide release, and that in January, usually considered Hollywood's financial graveyard. There hasn't been a phenomenon like this since Frozen. Adjusted for inflation, the film has already eclipsed Unforgiven as Eastwood's highest grossing film as a director in the US, and shows no signs of slowing down. 3 Martin Luther King, Jr. 1,088,233 It is Martin Luther King Day this week, and, with public awareness of police killings of black men spiking, and claims that blacks are being blocked from voting by new voter fraud laws, it's fair to say the civil rights pioneer's life has more resonance than ever. On top of that, a mild controversy has also emerged concerning the exclusion of his biopic Selma from most major Oscar categories. You'd think that would be enough for him to top the list, but apparently not. 4 List of Super Bowl champions 799,871 This list invariably pops up once a year, as Americans scramble for facts to determine which team will win the Super Bowl; the foremost of all football fiestas (at least in the US- most of the rest of the world has never heard of it). 5 Tom Brady 727,008 The New England Patriots quaterback with the all-American name has led his team to the Super Bowl six times in the last thirteen years, and won thrice. His high position on the list implies readers expect him to do so again. 6 Abdullah of Saudi Arabia 726,736 Thanks to the "pass the parcel" mode of succession practised in Saudi, which hands the crown not down the generations but between the sons of the country's first monarch, Ibn Saud, its now-late ruler was 81 when he assumed the throne, and held it for less than a decade before his death this week handed it to his brother Salman, who, at 79, is the youngest surviving son of Ibn Saud. After him, the grandchildren will finally be let in. Such a system ensures that Saudi Arabia will be a gerontocracy for the foreseeable future. 7 I (film) 726,736 The Phantom of the Opera-esque Bollywood film starring Vikram (left) opened this week to reasonable reviews and fairly spectacular box office, netting ₹1.84 billion ($30 million) worldwide in its first 12 days. 8 Greg Plitt 713,992 The fitness model and actor died this week after running between the rails of the Metrolink (Southern California) Antelope Valley Line in Burbank, California. His death was recorded on video and, while it hasn't been released, it apparently suggests he was trying to outrun a train. 9 Lil Wayne 692,652 A suspiciously high mobile count (93%) implies that this week's release of Sorry 4 the Wait 2, the latest mixtape from Lil Wayne, composer of such masterpieces as "B***s Love Me", might not be generating solely human interest, and that his views may be being artificially inflated. I'll leave it to you as to whether we should drop him. 10 Amber Rose 668,488 The hip-hop singer and former stripper caused a minor Internet storm this week when she released some revealing images of herself online, to much attention and a fair amount of criticism. 11 Stephen Hawking 649,303 The former Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, black hole theorist and latter-day science icon makes his 12th straight appearance in the Top 25 this week, thanks in large part to his biopic, The Theory of Everything, which opened in the United States on November 7. The film has so far netted $70 million worldwide and this week won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Eddie Redmayne, who portrays him in the film. 12 Anne Kirkbride 553,810 One of the more idiosyncratic differences between Britain and America is that, while Americans prefer their soap operas to spin tales of the rich and beautiful, Britain's concern themselves with everyday, working class folk. And actress Anne Kirkbride's character Deirdre Barlow epitomised that for 40 years on Coronation Street; Britain's and the world's longest running soap. Sadly, Anne's death this week means Deirdre's plotlines won't be resolved. 13 Alan Turing 533,419 It is sobering to recall one who accomplished so much, only to be so utterly destroyed for so little. After laying the foundations for the philosophy of artificial intelligence, essentially inventing the programmable computer, and shortening World War II by an estimated two years by cracking the Enigma code, he was outed as a homosexual and forced to undergo a chemical castration, an ordeal which eventually drove him to suicide. As an added insult, his life's work became the subject of two films, U-571 and Enigma, neither of which saw fit to mention him. So the Oscar buzz Benedict Cumberbatch has received for portraying him in his first true cinematic biopic, The Imitation Game, carries some fairly historic undertones. The film has proven popular, earning $120 million worldwide to date. 14 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 512,453 The third Monday in January is set aside in the US to commemorate the life, death and legacy of the civil rights leader. Many of our younger viewers might be surprised to learn just how recently Americans began celebrating this holiday. It was signed into law by Ronald Reagan in 1983, first celebrated in 1986, and only adopted by all 50 states in 2000. There are still six serving Congressmen (including John McCain) who voted against instating it. 15 Deaths in 2015 479,681 The viewing figures for this article have been remarkably constant; fluctuating week to week between 450 and 550,000, apparently heedless of who actually died. 16 473,912 A perennially popular article. 17 Russell Wilson 467,560 The quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, who, despite only signing on in 2012, led his team to their first ever Super Bowl victory last year, squares off against three-time-winner Tom Brady (above) when they meet in... 18 Super Bowl XLIX 436,408 ... which this year will be held on February 1 at the University of Phoenix Stadium. 19 Whitney Houston 414,569 The renowned singer, who rose to become one of the best selling musicians of all time, only to fall into a morass of drug use and an early death at just 48, had her turbulent life chronicled (or, according to most critics, travestied) in the Lifetime biopic Whitney, produced by her Waiting to Exhale costar Angela Basset, who rose to fame playing another troubled singer, Tina Turner. 20 Conor McGregor 393,591 The mixed martial artist and former featherweight champion defeated his opponent Dennis Siver at UFC Fight Night 59 this week. 21 Sia (musician) 380,024 The Australian singer caused a storm this week with the video for her song "Elastic Heart", which featured a nearly naked Shia LaBeouf wrestling with 12-year-old dancer Maddie Ziegler in a cage. Yes, it is off-putting. 22 Birdman (film) 376,654 This film by Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu is about a onetime star who rose to fame playing a superhero named Birdman but who hasn't made a movie in years. As such, it proved an irresistible draw for Michael Keaton (left) whose career has followed a remarkably similar narrative. Now with 9 Oscar nominations in the bag, it has gained immense interest, and has earned $50 million worldwide to date. 23 American Horror Story: Freak Show 375,676 The fourth season of the American Horror Story series concluded on January 21. 24 Bradley Cooper 370,956 The conventional wisdom has Eddie Redmayne competing with Michael Keaton for the Best Actor Oscar this year, but it's pretty clear who the people are interested in: Chris Kyle portrayer Bradley Cooper, who has been lifted up along with everything else American Sniper-related. 25 Yaodong 365,400 Yaodongs, or traditional Chinese cave houses, house up to 40 million people, as noted in a Reddit thread this week.
- This list excludes the Wikipedia main page, non-article pages (such as redlinks), and anomalous entries (such as DDoS attacks or likely automated views). Since mobile view data became available to the Report in October 2014, we also exclude articles that have almost no mobile views (2% or less) or almost all mobile views (95% or more) because they are very likely to be automated views based on our experience and research of the issue. Please feel free to discuss any removal on the talk page if you wish.
- Note: If you came here from the Signpost article, please take any discussion of exclusions to this article's talk page.
Specific exclusions this week:
- Script kiddie: random bits of computer jargon often appear on this list for no real reason, but (and I may be stereotyping here) I assume hackers are responsible.