Google Is Able To Predict Box Office With 94% Accuracy

Your e-mails, your searches, your browsing, these days almost all of it done through Google. That means there's basically nothing the giant company doesn't know about you and the people around you. It also kind of means they know everything about everything which, according to a new study, relates directly to box office.

Google has released a study that says, by analyzing searches for movie trailers and the prevalence of a franchise on the Internet, they can predict the potential box office of any movie with up to 94% accuracy. And that's just one of the many revelations the company has made using your data to look at Hollywood.

All the below information comes from the Google blog AdWords, via Grantland.

Here are the major bullet points, according to the full study, in their words.

  • The decision to see a movie is a very highly-considered research process. On average, moviegoers consult 13 sources before they make a decision. And people are now searching more than before – while overall new movie releases were down last year, searches in the movie category on Google are up 56% from 2011 to 2012, signaling an increase in digital engagement and appetite for more information.
  • Trailer-related search trends four weeks out from a movie release provide strong predictive power for opening weekend box office revenue. Interestingly, while we see more search volume in weeks closer to the release week, the Google and YouTube search patterns four weeks out from the release have the strongest link to moviegoer intent. At four weeks out, trailer search volume on Google coupled with both the franchise status of the movie and seasonality can predict opening weekend box office revenue with 94% accuracy.
  • Opening weekend prediction modeling shows high correlation between search volume / paid click volume and box office revenue. In the seven day window prior to a film's release date, if a film receives 250,000 search queries more than a similar film, the film with more queries is likely to perform up to $4.3M better during opening weekend. When looking at search ad click volume, if a film has 20,000 more paid clicks than a similar film, it is expected to bring in up to $7.5M more during opening weekend.
  • Moviegoers search differently for big movie releases. During slower box office weeks, we see more searches on generic terms (such as "new movies" or "movie tickets"), whereas during the week of a tentpole movie release we see more searches on movie titles (such as "The Hunger Games" or "Avengers"). For tentpole film releases, marketers have the ability to capture more interest by advertising on title-related search terms, whereas for non-tentpole releases it is important to advertise on more generic terms.
  • 48% of moviegoers decide what film to watch the day they purchase their ticket, so it's important to have a continued search presence through opening weekend and beyond.

Us again. The most interesting points here are two and three, which specifically relate to box office. They make sense, but 94% seems incredibly high. I'd love to see them start posting box office predictions four weeks beforehand to prove this point. How much is The Lone Ranger going to gross in a month, Google?

No luck. According to The Hollywood Reporter, "Google hasn't yet said what it intends on doing with its newfound predictive powers, though insiders say it can be used by film studios to better market their films. Google doesn't plan on selling its data, but sharing it with clients, they say."

You can read the full, 11 page research document here.