Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Formula for a hit film?

It is naive to think that you can hit upon the perfect research topic at the first go. Research can be a piece of cake, and you can have it, but you may not really be able to eat it! That's exactly why, instead of starting to work on the concept of a formula for a hit film, I decided straightaway to search for research done on the subject. That's why we do literature review anyway. And look what I found....

Instead of paraphrasing any of the texts that I found, I am directly going to copy-paste the relevant sentences and give links at the end of this post - Wikipedia style...


Psychologist Professor James Cutting and his team from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, analyzed 150 high-grossing Hollywood  released from 1935 to 2005 and discovered the shot lengths in the more recent movies followed the same mathematical  that describes the human attention span. The pattern was derived by scientists at the University of Texas in Austin in the 1990s who studied the attention spans of subjects performing hundreds of trials. The team then converted the measurements of their attention spans into wave forms using a mathematical technique known as the Fourier transform. They found that the magnitude of the waves increased as their frequency decreased, a pattern known as pink noise, or 1/f fluctuation, which means that attention spans of the same lengths recurred at regular intervals. The same pattern has been found by Benoit Mandelbrot (the chaos theorist) in the annual flood levels of the Nile, and has been seen by others in air turbulence, and also in music.(1)
Forget zombies. The data crunchers are invading Hollywood. The same kind of numbers analysis that has reshaped areas like politics and online marketing is increasingly being used by the entertainment industry. Netflix tells customers what to rent based on algorithms that analyze previous selections, Pandora does the same with music, and studios have started using Facebook “likes” and online trailer views to mold advertising and even films.(2)
A group of researchers from Tottori University in Japan, have developed a math equation that can predict if a movie is going to be a success or a flop. The complicated formula takes into account various factors, including advertising, word-of-mouth, and social networks.(3)

Based on factors such as whether key stars are still on board, how long it has been since the last film and how that performed, the researchers say they can calculate what producers can expect to gross relative to a film in the same genre that is not a sequel. "It is the industry of dreams, an industry of illusions, and lots of people go bust. The idea here is to put some more analytical thinking into the process," says Professor Thorsten Hennig-Thurau, of Cass Business School in London.(4)
Common wisdom says that the box-office success of any particular movie is a crapshoot. Now NYU Stern Marketing Professor Sam K. Hui and colleagues have devised a formula to take some of the guesswork out of movie-making. In their paper, “Green-lighting Movie Scripts: Revenue Forecasting and Risk Management,” Hui and his co-authors studied 200 scripts over six years, examining features including genre, contents, semantics, and the use of specific words, then related their findings to box office revenues and production budgets.(5)
Google unveils formula to accurately predict box-office takings - a month before the film is released (6)
Scholars think they've found the key to predicting how much money a movie will make its opening weekend in North America, up to a month in advance of its release. And no, it's not social media buzz – those metrics are so five minutes ago. Rather, it's the activity surrounding the movie's Wikipedia entry.
1. http://phys.org/news/2010-02-hollywood-movies-mathematical-formula.html
2. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/06/business/media/solving-equation-of-a-hit-film-script-with-data.html?_r=0
3. http://www.psfk.com/2013/01/movie-success-algorithm.html
4. http://www.theguardian.com/film/2009/nov/08/movie-sequel-profit-formula
5. http://www.stern.nyu.edu/experience-stern/faculty-research/uat_024121
6. http://predictiontracking.com/categories/44-entertainment/11957
7. http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/cracking-the-box-office-code-20131021
Do my students spot a research topic here? Do enjoy reading these articles. You will find more on the Internet. Just Google it. 
More tomorrow .........