London: Wikipedia can be used to predict the box office earnings of a blockbuster movie a month before it is released, researchers have claimed.
Taha Yasseri, a physicist at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, created a mathematical model that takes into account data like the number of readers and editors for the Wikipedia page.
He found the figure correlated with the box office takings on the film’s opening weekend.
For the biggest movies in the sample - like ‘Iron Man 2,’ ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ ‘Toy Story 3’ and ‘Inception’ - Wikipedia proved more than 90 percent accurate, although the researchers confessed that their overall success rate was 77 percent.
Predictions for less successful movies, such as ‘Never Let Me Go,’ ‘Animal Kingdom’ and ‘The Killer Inside Me,’ varied more widely from what actually happened.
“We show that the popularity of a movie could be predicted well in advance by measuring and analyzing the activity level of editors and viewers of the corresponding entry to the movie in Wikipedia, the well-known online encyclopedia,” the Daily Mail quoted the team as saying.
Yasseri and his colleagues, Marton Mestyan and Janos Kertesz, built the mathematical model using information on 312 movies from Wikipedia pages, out of a total of 535 that were released in the US in 2010.
It was posted this week on the arXiv database.
“We were looking for the fingerprints of popularity of a movie,” Yasseri said.
The Wikipedia entries of movies that were going to be popular were believed to be more heavily edited and visited by more users.
Yasseri added that the mathematical model could be used by studios to help predict the movies potential success.