According to the Motion Picture Association, “More than two-thirds (71%) of the U.S./Canada population – or 246 million people – went to the cinema at least once in 2016, a two percent increase from 2015.”

While this growth is good news, the same report also highlights a worrying trend that “the number of tickets purchased by frequent moviegoers decreased.”

The industry as a whole managed to increase its yearly profits thanks to an increase in the price of tickets, however, this trend could prove to be costly in the long term, potentially even catastrophic.

After all, the global film industry is a business at heart. Its model is based on the profits it makes from movie theatre receipts.

Although being wildly regarded as being an artform first, business second, the movie industry measures each film’s ultimate success on how much money it makes at the box office.

Despite the rising popularity of live video on demand sites such as Netflix and, where audiences can watch movies from the comfort of their own home, the global movie industry still pegs its measure of success on the humble movie theatre.

Without a radical shift in its business model, the global film industry needs to not only attract new audiences but also has to ensure that people keep returning to the theatre time after time.

In this article, we are going to take a look at the question, can data science in movies improve audience engagement?

The Science Of Data-Driven Moviemaking

In recent years, a new field of technology emerged that promises to revolutionize the global film industry.

Data-driven Moviemaking involves the application of big data analytics to the film production process.

Simply put, this process involves using data to improve the movies that we all watch.

Companies such as our own Largo have spent years developing complex big data analytics tools in order that they can analyze movies in order to offer a range of services.

Services Largo Currently Offers:

  • Movie Gross Predictions By Region
  • Script Analysis
  • Cast Review
  • Soundtrack Analysis
  • Scene By Scene Analysis
  • Actionable Insights
  • Target Marketing

By analyzing large data pools relating to the particular service, big data companies like Largo can identify trends or patterns to extrapolate predictions.

This is by no means guesswork however. Largo has spent years with top data scientists from EPFL developing a sophisticated AI big data analytics program known as LargoAI.

Thanks to all this hard work, today, Largo is able to make movie gross predictions with an incredible 86% accuracy. When it comes to its actionable insights relating to project green-lighting, LargoAI is currently achieving an accuracy of 82%.

Data Science And Audience Engagement

If Hollywood and other movie industries are to keep their current business models alive then they need to keep audiences going back to the theatre.

This means that it must understand what drives higher levels of audience engagement.

Factors That Drive Movie Audience Engagement:

  • Cost of a movie theater ticket
  • Types of movies being offered
  • Number of different movies being offered
  • Quality of movies being offered
  • The ratio of remakes/sequels
  • Effectiveness of marketing strategies
  • The ratio of blockbuster international movies vs. domestic
  • Age suitability for films
  • Size, location, and technology in the movie theatre

While there are a number of other factors that include the level of disposable income etc., the above list includes the main problems that drive audience engagement which can be affected by the movie industry in general.

Big data potentially has the power to influence all of these points to some varying level.

While at the current time, due to the application of data science to movies being in its relative infancy, the power of big data to radically affect many of these points is still quite muted.

For this reason, we will focus on what the current technology can achieve.

The main areas where data science can radically increase audience engagement at the current time are in improving the quality of the movies being offered, the effectiveness of marketing strategies, and the number of different types of movies being offered.

Without question, the single most important fact that improves audience involvement is the quality of the movies being screened.

All the marketing in the world cannot disguise a bad film once audiences finally get to see it.

While Hollywood has increasingly sidelined innovation and engaging stories forever big action sequences and star power, recent box office flops such as The Lone Ranger have shown audiences still need to be entertained.

This is where big data analytics can help. The application of data-driven movie-making at the script phase can ensure only the most appealing scripts get the green-light.

Likewise, the involvement of companies such as Largo at every stage of production will ensure that the final product gives audiences what they want. Everything from poor casting decisions to the ending can be analyzed to see how it appeals to audiences.

The end product will be a movie that the target audience is certain to enjoy. This will unquestionably ensure that they return to see any sequel etc.

Likewise, marketing strategy and the variety of movies being offered in theatres can be improved with data-driven movie-making.

The use of data pools such as those from social media etc., allow data-driven movie-making companies to offer accurate target marketing.

Such marketing allows movie companies to get much more bang for their marketing budget by getting direct access to their specific audiences.

Target marketing ensures that the kinds of people who will like the movie actually go to see it. Inversely, this ensures that audience engagement increases as people only go to see movies that they are likely to enjoy.

This, in turn, means that movie theatres are able to offer more varieties of movies since they will be able to obtain accurate data on what their audiences like to watch.

The same data pool that facilitates accurate target marketing will be able to tell theatre owners what types, genres, plots, etc. that their audience demographic enjoys watching.

Such accurate data analysis will allow them to plan the movies that they screen around the likely audience levels for each one.