Physicists devise formula to predict how successful a film is likely to be

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  • -6

    realteacher

    Yeah, did they apply it to John Carter? Lot's of ads, lots of talk. Oops, probably not. This bunch of eggheads should spend their time more productively. Leave the movie biz to the movie people. And what are a bunch of Uni Physicists doing making these formulas? Shouldn't they be teaching?

    Regardless of what I think, people are listening. I checked Mr. Ishii and found this, which explains his hit phenomenon in great detail : http://iopscience.iop.org/1367-2630/14/6/063018/article

  • 5

    Geoff Gillespie

    My long dead grandmother could have predicted that 'The Da Vinci Code,' 'Spider-Man 3' and 'Avatar' would all be huge hits - have to try a little harder than that if you're gonna impress anyone!

  • 0

    gaijinfo

    Predicting a huge "hit" is pointless, and useless. Try predicting the ROI for any particular film, and you may have something. For example, Blair Witch, Swingers, The Godfather, Memento, all had HUGE box office take compared to how much it cost to make them.

    Of course, trying to predict how people will spend their money, which is essentially what these guys are doing, has been the holy grail of entrepreneurs since the dawn of time.

  • 0

    Lowly

    May be interesting for other physicists for mathematical reasons, but I think all the Hollywood execs know, it's GUT instinct. Peppered with how much you feel you can risk. Which is just more guts.

  • 0

    Dennis Bauer

    i bet that in this formula, story, director, and bufget is not included.

  • 0

    IncenseAndPeppermints

    As a rule of thumb, I think it will be useful. But one should always be aware that every rule of thumb falls very hard on its ass every once in a while. None of those factors in the calculation are going to make a movie with an absolute stinker of a plot into a hit. And an awesome plot or other unique feature can make a hit despite the equation.

    My complaint is that the Hollywood movie industry already seems to be dumbed down with unorginality and formulaic creations. This will surely add to the problem. But they have truly learned some things and are giving the dumb masses what they want. I am constantly frustrated by a complete lack of continuity in movies these days, but it always seems like I am the only one who sees it. I just had to get up and stop watching the third Narnia installment it was so bad. Yet it performed pretty well at the box office.

  • -1

    timtak

    Thanks for the link realteacher. The authors mention subjective, difficult to measure factors such as "star power, quality of story, quality of music" at the beginning, but then go on to predict success using daily advertising budget alone. I don't see how these "quality" factors can be ignored, since as you point out, there are films with high advertising budgets that flop (John Carter?) and films with low budgets (Blair Witch, Paranormal) that succeed due to their content quality rather than the advertising budget.

    Strangely, the paper starts by saying that there are no such thing as sleeper hits (that gradually pick up word of mouth) in Japan due to the high urban concentration of cinemas. Is this tantamount to saying that content quality does not make any difference in Japan? If it were really this easy to predict success, film companies could fire all the stars, scriptwriters and composers and employ Geoff's long dead grandmother, because it is only advertising budget that matters.

  • -2

    smithinjapan

    Absolutely ridiculous. You can predict something will potentially be a huge hit, but then again there are always those movies/shows that are predicted to be block busters and instead flop big time while movies with tiny budgets and no-name actors do incredibly well (inviting sequels and spin-offs, which often flop). These guys are wasting their time, and probably our money.

  • 3

    Ninoh

    Oh, it's like mathematicians formulating Wall Streets derivatives.

  • -2

    Probie

    Physicists devise formula to predict how successful a film is likely to be

    Don't physicists have anything better to do?

    “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 a statement from the Institute of Physics, which published the paper in the Journal of Physics on Friday.

    I'm sure that I'm not the only person who can predict this too, without doing any calculations

    The team from Tottori University devised a set of mathematical models that measure how much money was spent on advertising before a movie is released, over what period of time, and how much talk the film generated in social media.

    What if it's a bunch of people saying, "wow, that movie that's being advertised all over the place looks really crappy, I'm going to wait 2 years till it comes on TV..."?

  • 4

    mkill

    In related news, a group of marketing professors from Aomori university yesterday published their groundbreaking paper that will redefine string theory.

  • 2

    whiskeysour

    (Tom Cruise concert) Rock Of Ages (New Line Cinema), John Carter (Disney), and etc.

    Are really sh!tty movies.

    Prometheus is the best of all, go and see it.

    TOP BOX OFFICE (U.S.) 1.Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted$35.5M 2.Prometheus$20.2M 3.Rock of Ages$15.1M 4.Snow White and the Huntsman$13.8M

  • 2

    wanderlust

    Does the formula take into account 'Hollywood Accounting?'

    The infamous system of maximizing expenses so as to be able to pay minimum salaries and taxes...

  • 0

    cwhite

    but you can have a shitty movie that makes a lot of money and vice versa a great movie that isn't a big hit. I would love to see them apply the formula to Indian and Chinese movies

  • 0

    Thomas Anderson

    My long dead grandmother could have predicted that 'The Da Vinci Code,' 'Spider-Man 3' and 'Avatar' would all be huge hits - have to try a little harder than that if you're gonna impress anyone!

    I think the model also predicts the quantity of success as well.

    Anyway I find this kind of depressing. I guess this model can be used for either good or bad.

    Even "viral hits" can potentially be predicted by how much talk is generated in social media.

  • 0

    electric2004

    Its more simple:

    Half of the money for the advertising is usually wasted.

    The trick is to find out, which half it was.

    And predictions for things that happen in the past are pointless. It is always possible to find a formula that fits. Same kind of stuff as is used for chart diagram analysis of stocks.

    Not so much real science.

  • 0

    Reckless

    They seem to have devised an algorithm after the fact based on existing data. This is not inventing, it is common sense. Am I missing something?

    Anyways, even if it can predict, then that would change the future as the production companies would all stampede towards the types of movies predicted to be blockbusters, and audiences would get sick of the same crap.

    My invention is a blockbuster predictor as follows: any movie by Nicholas Cage is awsome. End.

  • 0

    alliswellinjapan

    Not knowing how many different variables are being applied for the so-called "formula", I remain very doubtful that any such caculative prediction can actually be conducted with reasonable accuracy and precision. It is also unclear why they chose such a difficult-to-objectively-evaluate product as the subject topic or the study unless they were intentionally seeking media attention for what they wish to commercialize for other products. To me it rather downgrades the credibility of what they are actually trying to materialize. At best, when it comes to the film industry, it should only be applicable for the Japan market where large scale hollywood movies are generally sought after regardless of respective quality (simply sought after for the fact that they are large scale hollywood movies) with limited impact from critic appraisals which should normally be the most important variable in such calculations.

  • 0

    Ronald F Stark

    If this is what Japanese physicists are wasting time working on people in this country have no business playing with nuclear ANYTHING!

  • 0

    Al Stewart

    They should check it on "Superman Returns"

  • 0

    Kenjo McCurtain

    This is all very well. But still weekend forecasts by box-office experts on BoxofficeMojo - are already surprisingly accurate.

  • 0

    almxx

    It's simple; just have Mothra fighting Godzilla and Rodan, but this time with an all black cast. Will they be able to predict just when the public taste will change? Maybe sometime they can come up with a formula for regular people to get more for their money.

  • -1

    Farmboy

    Not all things are best solved mathematically. You don't need to ask a mathematician to predict whether people will like a certain color of green. You just show it to someone and ask if they like it. The advertising budget is mostly irrelevant beyond a certain point. Advertising won't fix a bad film.

  • 1

    realist

    Have the Physicists residing in Tottori nothing better to do than waste their time on such ridiculous nonsense as this? Japan is a wacky country, but this takes the biscuit.

  • 0

    NeoJamal

    You don't need in-academia to make estimates for a market tailored to the common stupid.

    THIS SUMMER DERP DERP DERP

  • -1

    plasticmonkey

    realist

    Have the Physicists residing in Tottori nothing better to do than waste their time on such ridiculous nonsense as this?

    No, they don't. They know that crap like this will be published because it's so patently ridiculous. And that exposure will earn them their research budget for the next year.

  • 0

    LHommeQuiMent

    A publishing hoax? Sadly, it's not.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_affair

  • 0

    Fadamor

    May be interesting for other physicists for mathematical reasons, but I think all the Hollywood execs know, it's GUT instinct. Peppered with how much you feel you can risk. Which is just more guts.

    Star Wars was shopped around for quite a while and turned down because the executives didn't like their "gut" instinct about it. Twentieth Century Fox finally took a risk and it paid off - big time.

    Moral of the story: Sometimes that "gut" felling is just the cannoli you had for lunch. If an accurate metric can be built that ignores what you had for lunch, then it's going to be of some value to people.

  • -1

    Clemens Simon

    The necessary "math" is rather simple: Follow the buzz on Twitter and similar online sites. Damn these guys are dumb! Are they trying to make money off of this?!

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