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Our Work


Client Description
An independent film distribution company working in close partnership with one of the six major Hollywood studios
Background
A common challenge across the film industry is optimizing marketing spend and distribution strategy far enough ahead of theatrical release to make significant shifts. This is because accurately predicting theatrical box office revenues early in a movie’s life cycle is the most famously difficult problem in the entertainment industry. Even among major studio releases, on average only 2 to 3 films out of every 10 will be profitable once all costs are factored in.

A movie distributor wanted to predict North American theatrical revenues of three movies based upon existing marketing and distribution assumptions. They also wanted to understand how potential changes in marketing spend and opening weekend theatrical footprint would impact box office performance. The movies had production budgets ranging from approximately $2 million to $25 million each.

Approach
Mazzaroth analyzed each of the films and performed a narrative mapping process covering over 600 features, corresponding to a proprietary narrative analytics dataset constructed from a large number of recent, theatrically-released films. Additionally, we incorporated seasonality and competitive intensity across different release dates, allowing us to quantitatively profile the attractiveness of each potential release window.

Using an ensemble of neural networks and extensive feature engineering and dimensionality reduction techniques, we provided box office projections under multiple distribution scenarios. This enabled our client to adjust marketing and release strategies months ahead of release.
Outcome
55% lower dollar error than our client’s major studio partner in predicting theatrical revenue