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The Perfect Formula For Box Office Success 397

Posted by Hemos
from the and-for-my-next-trick,-lead-into-gold dept.
Julez writes "According to icLiverpool, the formula for creating the "perfect" film has been discovered by a UK academic. The research will be used to assess the potential success of possible film sponsorship deals. Apparently, the perfect feature must have: action 30pc, comedy 17pc, good v evil 13pc, love/sex/romance 12pc, special effects 10pc, plot 10pc and music 8pc "
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The Perfect Formula For Box Office Success

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  • by loveandpeace (520766) * on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @09:35AM (#5944080) Homepage Journal
    i always thought it was an equal mix: The Destruction of Property, The Defiance of Authority, and The Removal of Clothing. Someone got paid for this? I'm in the wrong business.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @09:36AM (#5944083)
    How about 100% porn?
  • by jedigeek (102443) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @09:36AM (#5944084) Journal
    Special effects 10pc?

    Episode I and II clearly messed up the forumla.

    • Lucas got it wrong because he thought he'd bake a cake that was advertised as delicious marzipan and sprinkles, not telling anyone that it had a dog turd baked into the centre of it.

      That was the problem with the prequels. Great CGI used excessively and lousy script, acting, direction and everything else. I don't blame the actors for their wooden performances, after all it must be be impossible to deliver a natural performance when nearly the entire film is shot on bluescreen. Perhaps if Lucas bothered to

  • Good grief! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Keighvin (166133) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @09:36AM (#5944089)
    Did anyone else feel it was an insult to those with intelligence that plot took only an 8% grab?

    Gee, I guess that means the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy is a tremendous flop, doomed to failure; it's got the whole thing backwards!
    • I would have to agree with you. I haven't watched most movies for years because there wasn't much of a plot, and they gave away most it in the trailers and commercials! I guess that just means I will save a lot of money.
      I wonder what a movie costs in Britian? It can't be that much if they are all going to crappy 8% plot movies.
    • Bollywood? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SgtChaireBourne (457691) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @09:46AM (#5944191) Homepage
      How about the Bollywood flicks? They have a pretty standard formula complete with the songs, the dance in the forest, the wet sari, and the big fight. The plot comes much lower on the priorities than the music.

      Between Bollywood getting slightly better and Hollywood shovelling out drivel, it seems that there'd be more money in the Bollywood offerings.

      • Re:Bollywood? (Score:2, Interesting)

        I REALLY like the wet sari.

        Bollywood babes are the best - better than those idiotic, silicone distorted frankensteins that Americans seem to love. I'm excepting Halle Berry from that.
    • Re:Good grief! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheWickedKingJeremy (578077) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @09:49AM (#5944229) Homepage
      Did anyone else feel it was an insult to those with intelligence that plot took only an 8% grab?

      Not really. Remember, this "study" (and I use the term loosely ;) is measuring how to make a successful movie - not a quality one. Forget Lord of the Rings and look at Charlies Angels, Fast and Furious, etc. *shudder*
      • Re:Good grief! (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Kombat (93720)
        Uh, the two LotR movies are ranked 7th and 11th on the list of all-time highest grossing movies at the box office. Charlie's Angels is number 167. Fast and the Furious is number 114. Looks to me like the LotR trilogy is extremely "successful", by your own measure. I guess that means that in your eyes, they must therefore be crap, since the public at large (i.e., everyone except you) is too stupid to appreciate a real, quality movie like Lord of the Rings? Or maybe they're not as dumb as you like to th
        • Re:Good grief! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by TheWickedKingJeremy (578077) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @10:31AM (#5944583) Homepage
          ... What?

          Relax man, I liked Lord of the Rings, I assure you. Put down the pitchfork. ;) It was a decent action movie.

          My point was simply that this study was trying to determine why certain movies succeed and why others do not -- not determine what makes a quality movie. What makes a quality movie, after all, is in the eye of the beholder. You cant scientifically calculate what makes a film quality -- but you can determine which elements combine to make commercially successful, widely-loved films. Make sense?

          And for the record, I am entitled to my opinion.. and ranking Fast and the Furious as the 114th best movie makes me cringe. That is all. Thank you.
      • Re:Good grief! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by watzinaneihm (627119) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @10:18AM (#5944460) Journal
        Somebody notice that while most of the "good" movies are well balanced and sticks to the plot of the article, the most [movieweb.com] succesful ones had an overdose of one element or another or were missing one of those? (Well except Titanic that is)
    • Get over it (Score:4, Interesting)

      by clary (141424) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @10:00AM (#5944320)
      Did anyone else feel it was an insult to those with intelligence that plot took only an 8% grab?
      Not at all. I watch movies for the eye candy and adrenalin. What I want to think, I read a book.

      By the way, LoR has plenty of both, as well as plot...bonus.

    • Re:Good grief! (Score:2, Interesting)

      by alchemist68 (550641)
      Couple of things to point out here:

      1. You read and are a registered member of Slashdot, therefore your intelligence is likely at least 40 points above the average population.

      2. This "successful movie formula" is geared for the masses, i.e., people with an IQ of approximately 100 or so.

      3. You'll probably get more from reading the books (substance, plot, and detail from The Lord of the Rings).

      4. Recognize that you're at least somewhat "gifted" and have an avenue to discuss your point of view in a
      • by Transient0 (175617) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @10:15AM (#5944443) Homepage
        1. You read and are a registered member of Slashdot, therefore your intelligence is likely at least 40 points above the average population.

        Really? Is that so? This is nothing but unfounded arrogance and propaganda. You fancy yourself well ahead of the curve (doesn't really matter whether you've been tested or not, so please don't tell me your score) and as such like to believe that all those who share your interests are well ahead of the curve as well. What makes you think that there is a correlation between being able to read and sign up on a website and intelligence? Not to mention the fact that the so-called Intelligence Quotient only measures logical problem solving and mathematical insight, a very tiny fraction of what could reasonably be considered intelligence. Or, as it has been put glibly many times before: It only measures your ability to do well on IQ tests. At a guess I would say that it is probably likely that the Slashdot crew would average above the norm on IQ tests (maybe 120 or so) seeing as a large proportion are programmers and that is a field where logical problem solving is an important skill. But what we are talking about here is appreciation of the arts. I won't argue that this may be a function of intelligence, but it is certainly not a function of the IQ type of intelligence.

        2. This "successful movie formula" is geared for the masses, i.e., people with an IQ of approximately 100 or so.

        IQ is statistically defined such that the mean is exactly 100.

        I know that this post sounds dangerously like a flame, but the spreading of this IQ propaganda really irks me.

      • by FurryFeet (562847) <joudanx@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @11:33AM (#5945182)
        1. You read and are a registered member of Slashdot, therefore your intelligence is likely at least 40 points above the average population.

        You never read at -1 do you?
      • Re:Good grief! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by joto (134244)
        1. You read and are a registered member of Slashdot, therefore your intelligence is likely at least 40 points above the average population

        Ha, ha ha!

        At once, it might have been true that slashdot-readers had an average IQ of, say 110-115 (average person taking or having taken academic education would typically lie around 120). But 140, don't make me laugh...

        But today, I believe we are about as average as it possibly can be, if not a little below... Just look around, buddy!

        2. This "successful movie f

    • by csteinle (68146) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @10:11AM (#5944405) Homepage

      Did anyone else feel it was an insult to those with intelligence that plot took only an 8% grab?


      No, but it is an insult to your reading ability. It says plot 10pc :-P
    • Re:Good grief! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Actually, I think the LOTR movies fit the formula perfectly. In fact, many of the changes from the books to the movies work towards these ratios.

      *action 30pc - lots of action here. The movies focus on the fighting even more than the books. In fact, the movies even add fighting scenes that were not present though could be reasonably inferred (the attack by worgs in TT). I'd say Peter Jackson achieved this.

      *comedy 17pc - "never toss a dwarf", "second lunch" , etc. I don't remember reading these lines. So, t
      • Re:Good grief! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Keighvin (166133)
        I'd have to say that it's rather inverse for them (for the most part). Yes it's possible to put a checkmark next to all of those elements because they do exist, but not in the quantities proposed by the formula.

        For LOTR, plot takes a hefty lead. It's a matter of story first and foremost.

        Action/Special Effects splits for second as they are both heavily intertwined. It is worthy of note however that the special effects in this case aren't for the sake of, "Hey, lookit me, I'm a special effect!" but rathe
      • Re:Good grief! (Score:3, Informative)

        by BZ (40346)
        > "never toss a dwarf", "second lunch" , etc. I
        > don't remember reading these lines.

        The first one never appears in quite that form, though it's there in a slightly more extended version. The second one is in the book nearly verbatim on a few occasions.

        > And here's a crazy idea - let's make a love
        > triangle with Eowyn

        You mean like the love triangle in the book? It's not as pronounced in the book, but definitely there....
    • by jotaeleemeese (303437) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @10:46AM (#5944713) Homepage Journal
      .... Lord of the Rings' plot is dismal.

      A lot of nonsense that unless you are a fan of the books will explain very little about what is going on...
  • Until of course (Score:2, Insightful)

    The people get sick of the same ol' crap, and stop seeing the films.

    • Which happens.. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Nijika (525558)
      Apparently there was a point in the early 70's where this formula was "Musical, 100pc", and then everybody got sick of them and stopped going. This caused a chrisis in the film industry, and Martin Scorsese, Coppola and a variety of others were given a break.

      It'll happen again, it always does. I hope they use this formula, because it'll spawn another chrisis just like the one in the early 70's after everybody gets their fill of our generation's "Paint Your Wagon".

  • by Neck_of_the_Woods (305788) * on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @09:39AM (#5944114) Journal

    38% Windows bash.
    22% Linux worship.
    16% Katz bash.
    13% OS penis messuring.
    8% punctuation correction.
    2% spelling correction.
    1% comedy.
    1% math correction.
    1% sig.

  • I guess that leaves out A Beautiful Mind... [amazon.com]
  • by cuvavu (111503) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @09:40AM (#5944127)
    I think that rather than creating the "perfect" film, this will create the safest film - one that will make money and be like by the most people on average.

    I feel that if this is taken too seriously, it will kill creativity and churn out only repetitive titles, rather than the current 1%-5% originality that exists in major motion pictures today
    • Have you been to the movies lately? They've been taking this seriously for the past 20 years (at least)

      oh, and don't get me started on the music industry...

      --

      Was it the sheep climbing onto the altar, or the cattle lowing to be slain,
      or the Son of God hanging dead and bloodied on a cross that told me this was a world condemned, but loved and bought with blood.
    • by Build6 (164888)
      rather than creating the "perfect" film, this will create the safest film

      I think from the perspective of the execs funding movies, the "safest" film is the perfect film... .

  • Hmmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by psyconaut (228947) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @09:40AM (#5944131)
    How can you gauge how much of a movie is "plot" when the entire construct *is* the plot?

    -psy
    • Re:Hmmmm (Score:3, Funny)

      by Surak (18578) *
      Err...apparently you haven't actually watched any recent 'Star Trek' films. I'm *still* trying to find the plot in Insurrection. ;)
  • Oh! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Schezar (249629) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @09:40AM (#5944133) Homepage Journal
    Oh! So -that's- why Kangaroo Jack sucked. I get it now!

    Next time, we give the kangaroo a gun, add Satan, and make sure there's a steamy sex scene.
  • Missing element (Score:5, Insightful)

    by curtisk (191737) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @09:40AM (#5944134) Homepage Journal
    it appears this academic has missed a crucial piece of the equation in these modern times:

    Blatent Product Placement

    Oh, by perfect film, does he mean in the perspective of the film-goer vs. the film financiers? oops

    Anyone else feel that the Matrix Reloaded Heineken commercial just makes the Matrix franchise appear "cheap"?

    • Its sad but very true in our high power consumer society of today, the current UK hoardings advertising Reloaded seen from a distance look like a series of Prada adverts, it's really only the images of HK MP5s etc that give the game away
    • by RobotRunAmok (595286) * on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @09:54AM (#5944270)
      Anyone else feel that the Matrix Reloaded Heineken commercial just makes the Matrix franchise appear "cheap"?

      What, you mean in a way that the videogames, comic books, cartoons, action figures and Carrie-Ann Moss dipped in latex do not?
      • What, you mean in a way that the videogames, comic books, cartoons, action figures and Carrie-Ann Moss dipped in latex do not?

        It depends, do you think you'll see the comic books, action figures, videogames and cartoons in the actual movie?
        In previous experience with Heineken sponsored films, odds are pretty good you will see Heineken in the film.....and as far as Moss in latex, whats the problem there? :p

    • Anyone else feel that the Matrix Reloaded Heineken commercial just makes the Matrix franchise appear "cheap"?

      It is already cheap if you can refer to it as a franchise and the second movie hasn't been released yet.

      I am only hoping that they made a good movie in spite of all of the complete selling out that I have seen already. The movie doesn't need hyping, or over-the-top marketing. It *should* stand on its own, like the first movie did. But I realize that the movie industry will not be satisfied unti

  • Previews 100pc. I'd go.
  • Carry this study further: determine the ratios of the elements of what made for a "perfect film" for each decade since the birth of motion pictures. This would shed light on how audience tastes have evolved and where they might be going.
  • Eureka!!! (Score:4, Funny)

    by EChris (24069) <chris@homebr e w . n et> on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @09:41AM (#5944147) Homepage Journal
    (Reuters) Further research also produced an Instant Film Generation Algorithm (IFGA). The Perfect Film Formula (PFF) was then programmed into the IFGA and the scientists were delighted to see Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope produced spontaneously.

    Viewers of the IFGA/PFF results were astounded and enthralled until someone realized that popcorn hadn't been figured into the PFF. The project was scrapped.

    Chris
    • (Reuters) Further research also produced an Instant Film Generation Algorithm (IFGA). The Perfect Film Formula (PFF) was then programmed into the IFGA and the scientists were delighted to see Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope produced spontaneously.

      I didn't know Bad Acting was part of the Perfect Film Formula as well... *hides*

    • Viewers of the IFGA/PFF results were astounded and enthralled until someone realized that popcorn hadn't been figured into the PFF. The project was scrapped.

      July 13 2003, the IFGA/PFF becomes self aware.....
  • pc? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Efgé (22790) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @09:43AM (#5944158) Homepage
    Why would one use "pc" instead of "%", which is shorter and less confusing ?

    No, seriously, that's a real question. Is this some local usage in some part of the world?
  • I've walked out of movies where the acting was so horrible that it totally invalidated what pleasure I may have gained from the rest of the movie.
    Additionally, what about camera work? I almost got motion sickness from movies like "Behind Enemy Lines" and "The Blair Witch Project".
    I think that they are putting the cart before the horse in a lot of ways here by just analyzing the statistical makeup of the movie.
    They're forgetting to take into account that most of those huge movies have the acting required to
  • by jj_johny (626460) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @09:45AM (#5944180)
    There was that episode where Barney and Fred (in P-31) [topthat.net] write a song and analyze what needs to be in it to be a hit. I would not be suprised if this is just a hoax.
  • um, hype? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DrWhizBang (5333)
    Living in North America, i don't think you can discount marketing as a true driver. Any movie will be a success with the correct marketer behind it.
  • I'd like to see the gross earning stats on all of these movies, as well as movies that really bombed. I'm sure there are some real bunkerbusters out there that met this fantastically depressing formula.
  • by rusty0101 (565565) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @09:46AM (#5944190) Homepage Journal
    ...Actors. Big name actors, big name actresses, pop stars, pop starlets, etc. are all going to have a harder time getting those lucrative contracts to be in a new movie now. Their influence on the movie being "perfect" doesen't even show up.

    Imagine that.

    -Rusty
    • Yes, and we all know how much studios are going to pay attention to this. After all, look how poorly My Big Fat Greek Wedding did since it didn't have enough action in it, and way too much love/sex/romance. They even say in the article:

      Toy Story 2, a Disney Pixar production, was the film that had the closest match to the blueprint. The animated tale grossed more than £44m at the UK box office.

      By comparison, Titanic, the #1 grossing film of all time, made £118m in the UK. Taking a look at t

  • Nothing new (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kinnell (607819) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @09:46AM (#5944196)
    Maybe this is the first academic research of it's kind published, but I think it's clear that Holywood has had a good grasp of "the perfect movie formula" for quite some time, just like the music industry has "the perfect pop record" well understood. There are of course exceptions where genuine quality counts, but I'd be prepared to bet that the majority of low grade blockbusters churned out by the big studios come fairly close to this formula.
  • This is like (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Apreche (239272) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @09:47AM (#5944205) Homepage Journal
    that other time. Those British people attempted to find the funniest joke. But the joke wasn't funny. What they found was a joke that would be funny to everybody and anybody. There is no joke that would be hilarious to everyone, so the funniest joke is one which everyone can at least slighly enjoy. I mean, even though I didn't laugh out loud the joke did amuse me. I wish I remember what the joke was and had a link to the site, but oh well.

    Anyway this seems to be the formula for a movie that will please everyone, much like the joke. I think that the relatively small amount of plot reflect the intelligence of our society. 10pc of society want plot 30pc want action. That's the way this has to be interpreted. So if you make a movie with this formula it wont be a smash super hit like Star Wars or Matrix or LotR. But it wont suck. People who see it will say "that was an ok movie".
    • Here it is (Score:5, Funny)

      by Schezar (249629) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @09:52AM (#5944254) Homepage Journal
      Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy takes out his phone and calls the emergency services.

      He gasps: "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator says: "Calm down, I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is a silence, then a gunshot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says: "OK, now what?"


      http://www.cnn.com/2002/TECH/science/10/03/joke. fu nniest/
    • by jpkunst (612360) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @09:54AM (#5944267) Homepage

      Search Google for "funniest joke", first item [laughlab.co.uk] that comes up is the joke in question.

      A couple of New Jersey hunters are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn't seem to be breathing, his eyes are rolled back in his head. The other guy whips out his cell phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps to the operator: "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator, in a calm soothing voice says: "Just take it easy. I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is a silence, then a shot is heard. The guy's voice comes back on the line. He says: "OK, now what?"

      JP

  • Profit != Quality (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Joe the Lesser (533425) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @09:48AM (#5944211) Homepage Journal
    You can get a lot of people to see a movie if you hype it enough, or people may just see it anyway because they're bored, but it should be noted that just because your film made money, doesn't mean it was good.

    I hope filmmakers don't fall into any sort of rut when it comes to filmmaking despite findings like this, because the movies I most remember and enjoy are ones like Momento, because they are so different and force me to think about the world and how I percieve it. Moreover, what people like changes. Certainly most of the 80's movies I liked, I would scoff at nowadays.

    Suffice to say, I won't be seeing 2Fast 2Furious or whatever.
  • by guacamolefoo (577448) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @09:48AM (#5944220) Homepage Journal
    The article didn't really dig into what the research said, so I am somewhat hesitant about the title of my response, but...the fact that the article is scanty never stopped an intrepid Slashdotter from running his mouth, so away we go...

    The "perfect film" is obviously highly subjective. From a sentimental standpoint, perhaps it is something like Casablanca. From a producer's standpoint, it may well be "Deep Throat" or "Behind the Green Door" with their respective cost to profit(!) ratios. Artistically, it could be whatever floats your boat. I'm partial to Empire Strikes Back or Unforgiven as my favorite films.

    Statistical analysis of elements contained in films is only useful to the extent that the elements are cohesive, well-executed, etc. This all reminds me of the assinine film from the eighties about the robot that wrote a love song based on analysis of popular music, resulting in a meaningless spouting of bubblegum phrases.

    Besides, the research only looked at top-grossing films. How much money a film earns is not necessarily a proxy for how "good" it is. It is frequently the result of pimping and media hype. It is quite possible that some of the films which were top grossing lost money (even under sensible non-film industry accounting methods) and were terrible.

    The reference article is total fluff coverage and is highly instructive from a media analysis standpoint. You get no analysis of the underlying research. It in fact smells like a press release copped from some idiot researcher which was dumped almost unchanged into a "news" story. The percentage of shit that appears in newspapers that is derived in this exact manner is frightening -- it gains the imprimature of "news" instead of PR and there is no value-added journalism component. Journalists of the world, hang your heads.

    Whew. Had to get out my morning rant. I feel much better now. Get me some coffee.

    GF.
  • Wow (Score:3, Funny)

    by Evil Adrian (253301) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @09:49AM (#5944230) Homepage
    These statistics are about as useful as toilet paper, if you catch my drift.
  • Hurrah! At last someone recgonises that if there's one thing we all need in these times of artistic bankruptcy its more films of the quality of XXX, Die Another Day and Titanic. Wow, I can't wait to see the latest blockbuster with its contractually obliged 30% action and 12% sex. I'm literally tearing my eyeballs out in anticipation of the orgasmic visual feast that awaits... What does the world need more than XXX 2 with added snowboarding Vin Diesel?!

    Seriously. Jesus... What more can I say? This is just

    • How many movies tend to get made vs how many are good? There are always many crappy movies for every good one, I dont think that's changed. It's not just for lack of explosions/flashy effects that Hitchcock's movies wouldnt be successful today.
  • Well, if you want to create the perfect horror movie, just go here [brunching.com]!
  • by zulux (112259) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @09:57AM (#5944292) Homepage Journal
    Xulux writes "According to icBloodyWankers, the formula for creating the "perfect" Slashdot Story has been discovered by a UK pompus-git. The research will be used to assess the potential success of possible Slahvertisements(TM). Apparently, the perfect story must have: troll 30pc, childish humor / potty words 17pc, Nazi MS Users v Commie Linux Users 13pc, pr0n/goatse.cx/ASCII-porn 12pc, 'special' spelling 10pc, grammer 10pc and Katz 8pc "

  • Roger Ebert at the Boulder 2003 World Affairs Conference said the US market is driven by opening weekend momementum. And it is the teenage boys who have flexible schedules and disposable cash to see films on the first day. So you make action movies, maybe with a bit of teenage angst. Thats why you'll see mostly "comic book movies" from May 1 to Sept 1 in the USA.
  • by lovebyte (81275) <lovebyte2000@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @09:59AM (#5944304) Homepage
    action 1pc
    comedy 0pc
    good v evil 1pc
    love/sex/romance 1pc
    special effects 1pc
    plot 0pc
    music 0pc
    water 96pc
  • This reminds me of a project where some artists decided to make a project where they would make the "most popular" painting and song based on a survey.

    They surved style, tempo, length, voice and content for the song, for example.

    They also made the "least popular" works using similar techniques.

    You can find the results of thier work at:
    http://www.diacenter.org/km/index.html [diacenter.org]
    and
    http://www.diacenter.org/km/musiccd.html [diacenter.org]

    - Serge Wroclawski

  • Once you reduce an artform to some kind of 'formula' you no longer get creativity, just doggerel. If this guy actually produced films you could probably say of them, if you've seen one you've seen them all. Everyone know that pundits merely classify, catalog and explain. It's the job of the true artist to create something that breaks that mold, pushes the envelope and makes something actually new.

    When you come to it, very little is actually 'new'. I think that's why our fashion leaders keep the masses focu
  • An ML Perspective (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gingko (195226) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @10:00AM (#5944326)
    While this woman doesn't look like a scientist, this is quite an interesting problem for Machine Learning, I guess.

    We can use learning and classification techniques to have a proper go at something like this. Rather than work out the supposed 'best' film, we can look at proposals and decide whether they're going to be a success.

    See, in the vast array of films that have been produced, and their box-office takings (the metric I assume we'd use for measuring success) we have an annotated training set to train a learning algorithm with. We then run candidate films past that algorithm, and see what it decides. Might work.

    The interesting thing, as with many of these classification problems, is the 'feature vector' representation we use to describe a film. I suppose we'd need things like release date, budget, some kind of 'star-quality' rating (average Kevin Bacon distance? ;), these alleged 'percentages' that this woman is talking about... could be a fun research project on the side.

    Henry
  • A couple of guys have found the formula for the perfect painting and the perfect music.

    They've also found the "most unwanted painting" and "the most unwanted music."

    Here's their site [diacenter.org]. You can even order the CD [diacenter.org] of America's most wanted and unwanted song -- no piece of music before or since has ever made me laugh out loud so hard.

    You can see the paintings on the site. The most wanted music is a 3-minute smooth-jazz love ballad. The most unwanted music is over 22 minutes long, with constant changes in k
  • the Perfect Novel (Score:2, Interesting)

    by drjoe1e6 (461358)
    Supposedly, Robin Cook did a similar analysis for the Perfect Novel, mixed the ingredients, and came up with Coma, a best-seller.

    -Joe
  • Personally I would have to disagree with the percentages the article gives, but maybe that's because I don't always enjoy the average summer blockbuster. I'm more a fan of intelligent films or films that do things differently. That being said, the article talks about how its cross section was only based on the highest grossing films in the UK -- it'd be interesting to see what their "formula" comes up with for other areas of the world. ie. North America, Asia, etc.
  • Research on painting (Score:2, Interesting)

    by figa (25712)
    Sotz artists Komar and Melamid did similar research to create ideal paintings [diacenter.org]. They broke out their results by country. They did some work with music, as well.
  • Pathetic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by arvindn (542080) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @10:08AM (#5944380) Homepage Journal
    This has to be the most absurd and unscientific study *ever*. Reminds me of the soldier had the following sign posted at his doorstep:


    Wars ------ 2
    Killed ---- 5
    Wounds ---- 3
    Legs ------ 2
    Arms ------ 1
    Wives ----- 2
    Children -- 6
    -------------
    Total ---- 21

  • by Pirogoeth (662083) <mailbox@@@ikrug...com> on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @10:08AM (#5944385) Homepage Journal
    Toy Story 2, a Disney Pixar production, was the film that had the closest match to the blueprint.

    Funny, I don't recall a whole lot of love/sex/romance unless you count the Potatoheads getting it on in the Lincoln Log cabin early in the movie...

  • I thought all movies were already starting to look alike. Isn't "formulaic" an insult for movies? I guess research is being done to change bad to worse.

    Ahhhhh! If only it did not work! I am sorry but I really have to blame people for this. This is what the music industry does already. Albums are produced rather than written. AND IT WORKS! People are very stupid and they buy them. It's the same damn song folks. Over and over again.

    And people wonder why I seem to egotistical. I would rather not b
  • by mlush (620447) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @10:09AM (#5944391)
    [Silverman draws a standard dog]
    Myers: No, no, no! He was supposed to have attitude.
    Silverman: Um... wh-what do you mean, exactly?
    Myers: Oh, you know, attitude, attitude! Uh... sunglasses!
    Lady: Could we put him in more of a "hip-hop" context?
    Krusty: Forget context, he's gotta be a surfer. Give me a nice shmear of surfer.
    Lady: I feel we should Rasta-fy him by... 10 percent or so.
    [the resulting dog is rather... proactive]
    [all stare at it w/o any expression]
    Myers: Hmm... I think he needs a little more attitude. [Silverman blackens in Poochie's sunglasses]
    All Three: [variously] Oh, yeah, bingo. Yeah, that's it! There it is, right there! I love it!
    -- Another cartoon character created in less than 15 minutes,
    "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show"
  • OK, music is 8% (or pieces?! WTF is a pc, besides a progressive conservative?) of a movie. Does this mean that there should be 8% where NOTHING ELSE is happening? No action, adventure, love/sex, or any of the other parts?

    Music overlays much of a movie. Plot ties a movie together. How can you have "10% plot?"

    Bad drugs, I think, is what inspired this study.
  • *snicker* (Score:3, Funny)

    by cjpez (148000) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @10:23AM (#5944510) Homepage Journal
    It is now my goal to create a movie which fits exactly into this mold. The first twenty-seven minutes will be nothing but action, The next fifteen or so will be comedy, the next eleven will be god and the devil arguing about something, then just under eleven minutes of porn, etc. It'll be great.

    Reminds me of my plan to sculpt a movie designed to get exactly zero points on the capalert [capalert.com] scale: 15 minutes of wanton violence/crime, followed by 15 minutes of Impudence and Hate, 15 minutes of Sex and Homosexuality, etc...

    • Re:*snicker* (Score:3, Informative)

      by silhouette (160305)
      A quick search on the lovely capalert site reveals that there is exactly one movie that has received a perfect zero rating: American Psycho [capalert.com].

      My favorite choice quote from the "review":
      There is no listing of Chapter and Verse references for this movie. There is not enough room.

      Bwahaha!
  • by ziriyab (549710) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @11:34AM (#5945197)
    • The researcher is a movie director who probably had to search deep in her past to remember how to calculate percentages. Anyway, how do you calculate these numbers?
    • The study was commissioned by diet Coke. To see what kinds of movies they would sponsor. I guess regular coke had other R&D interests.
    • They wanted to see what makes a movie popular (see: Kangaroo Jack). Pander pander pander to the lowest common denominator.
  • by ianscot (591483) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @11:35AM (#5945202)
    Wasn't there a pop media story a couple of years back where someone composed the "perfect" painting, based on focus groups and "research" much like this? The result was set in a lovely little landscape at sunset, it had a family at its focus, and so on, in well-considered proportions that had to do with what respondents said they liked. Not quite one of those bogus Kincaid prints that were supposed to be so valuable, but just as bland.

    The earlier thing was intended to provoke people to ask why the idea of "ideal" art was so wrong... This one's just an advertiser's formula for avoiding risk.

    Sorry, though -- low risk means lower gain, too. Out of Africa doesn't match up with the formula all that well, but in the mid 80s it had a huge marketing impact. That movie set fashions going -- none of the big designers were planning on a sort of "Safari" line at the time, but the movie touched it off. Banana Republic owed a ton of its business to that one movie for maybe five years. And I don't think advertisers could have figured that out using this formula; they'd have had to see the movie and get the idea it was going to look a certain way and appeal to a certain type of person.

  • Been Tried for Real (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jratcliffe (208809) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @11:41AM (#5945252)
    Back in the mid-late 90s, a couple of the Hollywood studios put some serious dollars into trying to build a predictive model of film success. Problem is, they couldn't make it work. They could make the model match _prior_ outcomes, but getting it to correctly forecast the success of _future_ films was well-nigh impossible. The project was scrapped, I believe. Given how incredibly valuable a working model like this would be, though, I wouldn't be surprised if the idea keeps making a comeback.
  • Um, Novelty? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EvilTwinSkippy (112490) <yoda@etoyEULERoc.com minus math_god> on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @12:18PM (#5945715) Homepage Journal
    One thing seems to seperate every blockbuster movie from the rest: Novelty.

    The Matrix was cool because no one had ever done something like that before. Star Wars (the fourth, er first one) was cool because no one had ever done something like that. And not just science fiction, look at Pulp Fiction and Airplane.

    Shannon's Information theorum states that information can be measured on its surprise. We only need to transmit the parts of a signal that we aren't expecting. This is why a black frame compresses down to nothing, while a colorfull photograph is much larger (assuming the same size image.)

    The application here is that people are drawn to movies for the novelty. Outside of teenagers (who seem to think everything is new) people aren't going to go to a movie to see the same thing, over and over. I'm dissapointed if a movie is exactly what I expect. On the other hand, a really good movie I will I pay to see twice, just to catch the stuff I missed.

    Novelty, is of course, highly subjective, and changes with time. Right now sex isn't all that novel. We have seen it all. Photo-realistic computer graphics are not all that novel, we have seen it all. Ultra-gory war flicks, everyone dies at the end horror flicks, fairy tales, and post-apocalptic hero stories: been there, done that.

    Thank you. Have a good day.

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