Predicting Popular Movies – Are Books Next?

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This is a news story hot off the NPR wire.  Original text at (

A company name Epagogix has applied big data analysis to predict which movies will be hits, predicting how much a movie will make at the box office plus or minus about 10%.  The algorithm evaluates scripts, plot points, actor/actress involvement, and can make recommendations to make a movie more marketable such as changing the setting or modifying a character’s role.

Related findings apply, too.  Directly from the NPR report…  “In films that are based on a true story, sticking to the facts is a must because more than half of the audience will Google that story when they leave the theater. ‘If it turns out the ending of the movie was sugar-coated, that actually bothers people,’ says Bruzzese. ‘It affects their ability to spread positive word of mouth. They feel cheated.’ ”  (I am definitely one of the people that Google’s the true story after seeing a film!)

Movie financiers are starting to utilize the technology, although there is still tension between the desire for predictable financial return and artistic expression.  What could happen if the same analysis infiltrates books?  It could happen!

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