Formula for box office success

According to the LA Times, the psychology department at the University of California Davis has discovered the secret of critical and box office movie success. Here are some of the surprising highlights:


  • Spend lots of money, especially on advertising
  • Don’t go above a PG-13 rating
  • Open on many screens, in the summer


  • Go for an R-rating
  • Base the film on an award-winning book or play, preferably one that is itself based on a true story
  • Employ the original writer/director and an excellent musical composer
  • Keep in mind that critically acclaimed movies often do not make a lot at the box office

The article says that the guy developing these findings “has applied the most powerful tools of statistical science to thousands of feature-length English-language films and will unveil his detailed findings this Friday at the American Psychological Assn.’s annual confab in San Francisco.”

Good thing the film studios have universities helping them out, otherwise they’d clearly be wandering in the dark. University tuition dollars well spent.

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