Money Matters - Simplified

Now a formula to predict a film's box office success!

Using the formula what they call "The Hit Phenomenon", the scientists were able to calculate the success of films when they hit the silver screen.

For years, the film industry has relied solely on surveys and focus groups to project a film’s likely success. But is there a new way? Apparently yes!!

Japanese physicists have devised a simple formula to predict whether a flick will be a big winner or a dud at the box office.

By taking into account the budget, duration of film’s marketing campaign and how much hype it created in the social media, a team from Tottori University developed a mathematical model.

Using the formula what they call "The Hit Phenomenon", the scientists were able to calculate the success of films when they hit the silver screen.

The researchers had initially delved on how buzz on blogs, Twitter, Google + and Facebook spreads over social networks. When they focused on movies, experts found a similarity.

They noted that just like person-to-person communication, online interactions can create positive or negative analysis of movies, which can sway the masses to go see them in the theater.

Lead author Akira Ishii said, "We present the mathematical model of the hit phenomenon as an equation of consumer action where consumer–consumer communication is taken into account.

"In the communication effect, we include both direct communication and indirect communication. We found the daily number of blog posts to be very similar to the revenue of the corresponding movie."

"They appeared to match very well, meaning the calculations could provide a fairly good prediction of how successful a movie could be even before it is released,"--Akira Ishii.

Physicists look at 25 movies
The researchers used the formula to work out the odds of people going to watch a film in a cinema with a time frame(60 days prior to the movie's release to 100 days after it had opened).

They evaluated the daily advertisement costs of 25 different movies including "The Da Vinci Code," "Spider Man 3" and "Avatar," shown in Japanese theaters to envisage how they would fare at the box office.

The researchers then took into account indirect communication (overhearing discussions of a movie in a café) and direct communication (interactions with friends through Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other social networking platforms). They then compared this with the actual revenue generated by the films.

The researchers found their model made an accurate forecast for box office success.

"They appeared to match very well, meaning the calculations could provide a fairly good prediction of how successful a movie could be even before it is released," said the physicists.

Applicable to any consumer market
The study focused only on the Japanese box office. Besides calculating the best way to market films, researchers believe the formula can apply to any commercial markets such as online music, food snacks, soft drinks and event organizing.

"I think our model is very general. It will work in other countries as well," Akira Ishii said.

The findings were published in the Institute of Physics and German Physical Society’s New Journal of Physics on June 15.