Science

Edit Wikipedia To Turn An Upcoming Movie Into A Blockbuster

Time to turn your favourite movie into a surefire moneymaker – and finally get that sequel made – with a bit of collaborative writing.

Social media is being used to predict and track any number of things, from earthquakes to rainbows, election results and stock market trends. But researchers are still trying to figure out which social media is the best way to predict whether or not a movie will be successful before it arrives on a screen near you.

There’s a lot of money tied up in producing blockbuster movies like Kickass 2, so any intelligence that can tell moviemakers whether they have a success on their hands before they launch it is incredibly valuable.

Twitter has some ability to predict the box office results for really popular movies, particularly around the release date, but if you really want the dirt, and you want it early, you’re better off avoiding social media entirely. Instead, head to Wikipedia.

According to new research, the number of page edits and contributors for a movie is a good way to tell how much money it will make at the box office. The number of people viewing the page? Not so much.

The really neat thing about the research, from scientists in Aalto in Finland, Oxford, and Budapest, is that the results are independent of how many theatres the movie is shown at – Wikipedia prediction doesn’t just work for big blockbusters, but also for smaller arthouse movies. That’s because, unlike Twitter, there’s often enough interest in smaller and less successful movies to create a page for them on Wikipedia, and keep it updated.

The researchers looked at all movies for 2010, analysing them from 500 days before release to 100 days after release. The interest in the movie, as shown by how many people contribute, collaborate and edit the page, was tied to the final success of big budget movies such as Inception and Iron Man 2, but also less-well-known films such as Animal Kingdom and Never Let Me Go. The model that the researchers have developed lets them predict well in advance whether a movie will have box office success.

Maybe its time to start Wikipedia campaigns for much-loved series and comic books, rather than Kickstarters?

We’ve got a bit more information about this research at Lifehacker, too.

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