Is it possible to forecast how much money a movie will make just by reading a script? Statistics professor and movie guru, Vinny Bruzzese says you can.
Mr. Bruzzese and his team have supposedly come up with an equation to forecast how much money a movie will make in the box office, just by reading the script. For only $20,000 his company, Worldwide Motion Picture Group, will read any movie scrip and will compare it to other narratives with comparable story lines, Facebook likes, and data taken from focus groups consisting of over 1,500 moviegoers. With this information, he can dissect any scrip or screenplay, and help directors see how much money their movie will (or will not) make.
Based on statistics and moviegoer opinions, Bruzzese reads a script, and uses data to determine if characters are likable, or should be changed. He uses corresponding data with certain celebrities to determine how many people will attend a movie just because that person is in the film. His recommendations usually come in a 30 page report, and include both minor and large corrections. Mr. Bruzzese also said that he will not hesitate to inform a writer that the movie is crap, and characters need to be developed into something completely different in order to for the audience to be engaged enough to see the movie in theaters.
So far, Mr. Bruzzese has reviewed over 100 scripts in Hollywood, including “Oz the Great and Powerful,” which earned $484.8 million in the box office. His services also include reviewing scripts for TV shows and Broadway productions. Although his price may be high, Hollywood directors seem to be interested in his operation, and many have found it to be incredibly useful. However, he clearly states to each screenwriter that he will not be held responsible if the movie flops, and his equation is not correct. As we learned, forecasting is rarely 100% correct, and is used as more of a guideline than an indicator of fact.
But what are the implications of using statistical forecasting on an art form like movie making? Some people are not as excited about the idea. One movie critic wrote, “It’s the enemy of creativity, nothing more than an attempt to mimic that which has worked before. It can only result in an increasingly bland homogenization, a pell-mell rush for the middle of the road” (Ol Parker).
So do you think forecasting of new moves will inhibit creativity in scriptwriters? Do you think Hollywood directors should only focus on their movies making the most amount of money? Will Hollywood movies just become cookie cutters of the previous ones before them? Or do you believe an equation made for forecasting movie success help make new movies better?