In what could benefit filmmakers across the world, mathematicians claim to have come up with a formula to predict the fortunes of a movie sequel.
A team at Cass Business School in London has devised the mathematical formula which is aimed at taking the risk out of deciding whether follow-ups to cinema hits will be a sure thing, or a disastrous gamble.
Team leader Professor Thorsten Hennig-Thurau said: “It is the industry of dreams, an industry of illusions, and lots of people go bust. The idea here’s to put some more analytical thinking into the process.
“I want this industry to recognise that it is not as different to other sectors as it thinks it is. What we are talking about here is brand extension. How else would you come up with an adequate value or price? Now everyone can work out what a sequel right might be worth.”
In their study, the mathematicians examined data from all 101 movie sequels released in North American theatres between 1998 and 2006, and a matched subsample of stand-alone films with similar characteristics, The Observer reported.
According to the formula, upcoming sequel The Twilight Saga: New Moon is expected to return $34 million more for the producers in the US than a vampire or romance movie with the same characteristics, which is not a sequel.
The figure is calculated by projecting an overall revenue of $267 million in the US of which $130.6 million would flow back to the producing studio. Once this figure is adjusted for risk — at a level of 75 per cent — the producers can expect to generate $109 million in revenue.