Scientists in Japan have created a mathematical model they are calling, “The Hit Phenomenon.” By calculating the advertising film budget, the running duration of the campaign and its social media word of mouth quotient, a team from Tottori University have worked to predict the success of such films as Spider-Man 3 and Avatar and then compared their findings to actual box office receipts.
Research findings appearing in the New Journal of Physics offer, “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.” The scientists used the model to calculate the likelihood of an individual going to see a movie in a Japanese theater over a period ranging from 60 days ahead of a movie’s release to 100 days after the opening.
Although the study was based on the Japanese market, its lead author, Akira Ishii, told Agence France Presse he thinks the model is “very general. It will work in other countries as well.” Ishii pointed out a key benefit of the formula is that companies can calculate the best time to spend advertising dollars. The next step is getting the model to Hollywood. Ishii and team hopes to make "The Hit Phenomenon" commercially available in the future. Hollywood may soon be able to plug into the formula but will American movie ticket buyers behavior be predictable remains to be forecast.