The Ratio of Social Media to Box Office Success: New Study Shows Correlation

According to Japanese scientists at Tottori University, there is a mathematical correlation between the amount of social media posted about a film before and during its release weekend, and its subsequent performance at the box office…at least for local and Hollywood films released in Japan.

The full study was originally published in the New Journal of Physics, and has since been the subject of recent posts by /Film and The Hollywood ReporterProfessor Akira Ishii of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Physics, the leader of the study, told The Hollywood Reporter that the study “found a direct correlation between the number of social media postings about a movie on a given day, and the number of people who intended to purchase tickets.”

The study’s Abstract explains:

A mathematical model for the ‘hit’ phenomenon in entertainment within a society is presented as a stochastic process of human dynamics interactions. The model uses only the advertisement budget time distribution as an input, and word-of-mouth (WOM), represented by posts on social network systems, is used as data to make a comparison with the calculated results. The unit of time is days. The WOM distribution in time is found to be very close to the revenue distribution in time. Calculations for the Japanese motion picture market based on the mathematical model agree well with the actual revenue distribution in time.

To go along with this complex and technical description, the scientists kindly provided a video explanation too.

Do you think the “‘hit’ phenomenon” model can be reliably applied to movies of all genres? Or to films released in the United States? Post a comment below and tell us why or why not.


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The Author

Sarah Katz

Sarah Katz

Born-and-bred New Yorker. Lifelong film & TV lover—from chick flicks, rom-coms, rom-droms, rom-drams, and tweentertainment, to Shakespeare, period pieces, James Bond, fairy tales, and mafia movies.