Google says it can predict movie hits based on search data

The Web giant releases a study asserting that the company can predict how well a film will perform in the box office with 94 percent accuracy.

A comparison between movie searches and box office success. Google

Curious about how well "The Lone Ranger" will fair at the box office? How about whether "Star Trek Into Darkness" will do alright overall?

This is information that Google now says it can predict with up to 94 percent accuracy.

The Web giant released a study (pdf) on Thursday that examines the correlation between Google searches and box-office performance. And, with people using search at an increasing rate (56 percent more in 2012 than 2011), it seems that Google's predictions will only get better.

"Moviegoers are now more actively discovering and exploring their film options, and this translates to a longer, more deliberate movie research timeline," Google wrote in its study. "By understanding how and what they are searching for, we can uncover unique insights into moviegoers' awareness and intent."

If the amount of users' movie queries and paid clicks are compared with other variables, like theater counts, Google says that it can predict a film's opening weekend performance with 92 percent accuracy and all following weekends with 90 percent accuracy.

If Google throws in trailer-related search trends, and adds movie franchise status and the time of year the film debuts, the Web giant says it can predict opening weekend box office revenue with 94 percent accuracy.

While Google isn't making its predictions public, it seems like Hollywood would surely like to get its hands on this type of information.

About the author

Dara Kerr, a freelance journalist based in the Bay Area, is fascinated by robots, supercomputers and Internet memes. When not writing about technology and modernity, she likes to travel to far-off countries.

 

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