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A Parsimonious Model for Forecasting Box-Office Revenues of Motion Pictures, Marketing Science


The primary objective of this paper is to develop a parsimonious model for forecasting the gross box-office revenues of new motion pictures based on early box office data. The paper also seeks to provide insights into the impact of distribution policies on the adoption of new products. The model is intended to assist motion picture exhibitor chains (retailers) in managing their exhibition capacity and in negotiating exhibition license agreements with distributors (studios), by allowing them to project the box-office potential of the movies they plan to or currently exhibit based on early box-office results. It is also of interest to practitioners in other software industries (e.g., music, books, CD-ROMs) where the distribution intensity is highly variable over the product life cycle and is an important determinant of new product adoption patterns. The model and its extensions are of interest to academic researchers interested in modeling distribution effects in new product adoption, as well as forecasters looking for ways to leverage historical data on related products to forecast the sales of new products. We draw upon a queuing theory framework to conceptualize stochastically the consumer's movie adoption process in two steps-the time to decide to see the new movie, and the time lo act on the adoption decision. The parameter for the time-to-decide process captures the intensity of information intensity flowing from various information sources, while the parameter for the time-to-act process is related to the delay created by limited distribution intensity and other factors. Our conceptualization extends existing new product forecasting models, which assume that consumers act instantaneously on the motivating information they receive about the new product. The resulting model is parsimonious, yet it accommodates a wide range of adoption patterns. In addition, the stochastic formulation allows us to quantify the uncertainty surrounding the expected adoption...




Mohanbir Sawhney, Jehoshua Eliashberg

Date Published



Sawhney, Mohanbir, and Jehoshua Eliashberg. 1996. A Parsimonious Model for Forecasting Box-Office Revenues of Motion Pictures. Marketing Science. 15(2): 113-131.


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