Startup Introduces System to Predict Box Office Performance

Japanese startup Crunchers unveiled a system at Tokyo International Film Festival’s content market that will help forecast how a movie will perform in theaters. The system uses big data to determine the success of a movie based on marketing and promotional efforts, word-of-mouth or the “viral effect,” and the timing of the release, and it will only continue to improve its accuracy as it gets more data. Crunchers’ system launches in Japan in November with the U.S. release expected by early 2015.

cinemaThe prediction system could potentially help movie companies avoid box office flops. “Internet content creation is very low risk, but for [those] in the film business one big-budget flop can cause a crisis in a corporation,” said Crunchers CEO Daichi Ishii.

While the amount of money spent of marketing is easy to measure, the “viral effect” of the movie is not. The Crunchers team analyzed 100 recent films and developed a checklist of questions that related to different aspects of the movie, such as the film’s cast, cultural factors, “creative expression,” and other story elements. Eventually, that list was whittled down to 60 yes-or-no questions that identify the main factors in determining a movie’s viral appeal.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Crunchers’ founders created the system to offer a data-driven resource for movie production companies. The company intends to continue updating the system as it collects more data from other movies. U.S. production companies will be able to purchase Crunchers’ service next year.