Hollywood Box-Office Success Can be Predicted by Frequency of Tweets

Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Transylmania: untweetable

Twitter could soon become the ultimate fortune teller for movie success, and possibly even elections.

Two researchers at HP Labs examined nearly three million posts to Twitter, or tweets, from 1.2 million users for three months in 2009-2010 to determine a correlation between feedback about 24 films (before and during release) and the box office receipts that eventually came in. Sitaram Asur and Bernardo Huberman measured pre- and post-release tweets. They found that the two highest-grossing movies studied—Twilight: New Moon and Avatar—produced 1,366 and 1,213 tweets per hour respectively, while the theatrical bomb Transylmania—which set the record for the lowest grossing film ever released in 1,000 theaters or more—garnered only 2.75 tweets per hour.
The researchers insist their methodology can determine not only movies’ opening weekend success, but also their long-term box-office bounty.
They also wrote that their model could be applied “to a large panoply of topics, ranging from the future rating of products to agenda setting and election outcomes.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Can Twitter Predict the Future? (by Kirk Maltais, OhMyGov!)
Predicting the Future with Social Media (by Sitaram Asur and Bernardo A. Huberman, Hewlett-Packard) (pdf)


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