8 November 2012 4:00 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Mathematical model based on Wikipedia activity forecasts the earnings of the biggest movies with 90% accuracy

Patterns of activity on Wikipedia can predict the opening box office takings of blockbuster movies a month before they are released, according to scientists.

Taha Yasseri, a physicist at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, has created a mathematical model that takes into account data such as the number of readers and editors for the Wikipedia page of an upcoming movie and shown that it correlates with takings on the film's opening weekend.

Yasseri and his colleagues, Márton Mestyán and János Kertész, built the model using data on 312 movies with Wikipedia pages, out of a total of 535 that were released in the Us in 2010. Overall, the predicted box office takings matched reality with an accuracy of around 77%.

For the biggest movies in the sample - such as Iron Man 2, Alice in Wonderland, Toy Story 3 »

- Alok Jha

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