The Tech That Can Predict Movie Success



A startup claiming that it can predict how much money a movie will make before it is made by running its script through a program is set to launch next year.

ScriptBook runs an algorithm on a script that it says will determine a film’s box office potential.

It has a database of 2,000 scripts which the algorithm can scan and compare the new work with. Nadira Azermai, the company’s chief executive and founder, told CNBC that the number of scripts will grow.

“We went back to what makes a story great. How a story should be structured and the key elements, what kind of dialog, what kind of journey is the hero on,” Azermai said.

“There are certain rules to stories even if you go back to Shakespeare and the three act play.”

Azermai claimed that 87 percent of films lose money and that ScriptBook’s technology will help film studios be more subjective in choosing the films to green light.

“If your job was reading scripts and you read 10, you will have your own choice. But you need the objective sense to see what builds a great story,” Azermai said.

“A film studio has thousands of scripts and they have a huge backlog. All the scripts need to be read and assessed and we can do that at a speed of light.”

ScriptBook was founded in Belgium a year ago and has raised a 1 million euro ($1.1 million) in a funding round this year.

The challenge for ScriptBook is getting film studios on board and proving the success of its technology to them. Azermai said the start-up is working with four major Hollywood studios to trial the technology.

But ScriptBook’s algorithm raises the question: Will creativity be killed by only green lighting films that conform to its formula? Apparently not, according to Azermai. The algorithm gives studios a “creativity measure” which looks at the tone of the movie, the humor, sarcasm and other aspects beyond just the plot.

“That way we can make sure those films don’t fall through the cracks.”


Reprinted by permission.

Image Credit: CC by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

About the author: Arjun Kharpal

Arjun Kharpal is a News Assistant for CNBC in London. He took on the role after interning at the company for three months. Arjun has previously written for the Times, the Telegraph, the Guardian and the Mirror in London.

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