A couple of methodological biases to note: Netflix rentals by mail are driven by grown-ups, not by teenagers who like going to movies at the mall. Also, Netflix is usually seen as more upscale in its customer base than renting by mail from Blockbuster. (Stuff White People Like has a chapter on Netflix.) And, in general, renting by mail, with its inherent demand of planning ahead, is more upscale than the immediate gratification of renting at a store or buying a video.
So, these maps don't really compare, say, movie tastes in Beverly Hills to Compton, they compare the tastes of Netflix subscribers in Beverly Hills to those of Netflix subscribers in Compton. That tends to make the chasms in taste look smaller than they really are -- although they look pretty big on the maps, anyway.
Thus, The Dark Knight doesn't do particularly well on Netflix because most of the people who wanted to see it went out and saw it in the theatres. And then, if they really liked it, they bought the DVD rather than rented it. The type of movies that do well on these Netflix maps tend to be Oscar-bait movies that were only moderate hits in theatres, such as Brad Pitt's Benjamin Button and Angelina Jolie and Clint Eastwood's Changeling. You get the feeling of dutifulness looking through the maps -- you see a lot of people ordering Important Movies that they feel guilty that they weren't enthused enough to see in first release.
Mad Men, unsurprisingly, is only popular on DVD in the entertainment industry zip codes of LA.
One interesting thing is that you can frequently see the black neighborhoods in west south central LA -- check out the Tyler Perry movies for the map of black LA. The black neighborhoods tend to either love small movies (if they have black stars) or ignore small movies (if they don't have black stars).
The huge Hispanic neighborhoods to the east, however, aren't as distinctive in their tastes. Blacks and Hispanics share a taste for big budget action thrill rides like Eagle Eye. But, Hispanics like romantic comedies with white actresses, which blacks don't really like.
There are almost no movies in Netflix's top 100 that have Latin American stars, so they mostly seem to take whatever popcorn movie Hollywood is handing out (while avoiding indie stuff like Rachel Getting Married, with its SWPL multiculti obsessions.) Most Latin American stars who make prestigious Netflix-type Hollywood movies, such as Selma Hayek, Benicio Del Toro, and Gael Garcia Bernal appeal more to high-end SWPL tastes than to Latino immigrant tastes. Heck, Hollywood regularly employs a New Zealand Maori, Cliff Curtis, to impersonate Latin Americans! The only Hollywood filmmaker who seems to have any creative insight into what Mexicans would be interested in is Mel Gibson.
The impact of 50 million Hispanics on American popular culture remains remarkably small.
The maps can be oddly centered -- the LA map, for example, includes places like Placentia, but not Malibu and Santa Monica. You can click on a map and drag it to see more suburbs.