Japanese Scientists Say They've Found The Formula For Box-Office Success

By studying marketing and social media, the ‘hit’ phenomenon can predict box office success

Photo: Akira Ishii / New Journal of Physics

A group of Japanese physicists are claiming they have found the formula to predict whether a film will succeed at the box office.The study, released in the June edition of the New Journal of Physics explains the “hit phenomenon.”

By calculating a movie’s advertising budget, the length of its marketing campaign, and social media buzz, the team was able to predict the success of such films as “Transformers” and “The Da Vinci Code.”

Using the formula, lead author of the study Akira Ishii says companies can calculate the most efficient way to market their films. 

While only based on the Japanese box office, the study claims these equations can translate to any market, though admitting that it cannot account for ‘sleeper hits’ (like “Little Miss Sunshine” and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”), as they do not typically happen in Japan.

From the study:

“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. The daily number of blog posts can be used as quasi-revenue. The results calculated with the model can predict the revenue of the corresponding movie very well. We found that indirect communication affects revenue using the calculation and our theory. The conclusion presented in this paper will be applicable to any consumer market.”

Ishii told Agence France Presse he hopes to make the formula commercially available. The team also plans to apply the formula to other commercial markets like music and food purchases in the future. 

You can check out the entire study here.

SEE ALSO: Pixar’s highest grossing films of all time >

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