Young people sitting in multiplex movie theater, watching movie, eating popcorn..

Australian distributors will soon be offered new technology designed to more accurately predict the box office results for any film and to help them choose the most appropriate release dates.

UK-based theatrical data analytics company Gower Street Analytics has hired distribution veteran Mike Selwyn as theatrical distribution consultant in Australia.

Founded by former Universal Pictures executive Dimitrios Mitsinikos and Matthew Eric Bassett, Gower Street launched Forecast in the UK and Ireland and now plans an international roll-out.

That platform helps distributors by simulating the box office potential of each title based on data including the competitive landscape, holidays and even weather patterns, and thus to choose the optimal release date.

Using the latest mathematical modelling techniques combined with expert film business knowledge drawing on ComScore’s worldwide BO data, the tool provides estimates for all titles with a planned date up to 18 months before theatrical release.

“As dating a film happens typically months before the film is actually complete, there is not enough information on the quality of a title,” Mitsinikos, a former VP, International Research, at Universal, tells IF.

Mike Selwyn.

“What our system does is it assesses the potential audience and screen availability at a specific point in time, treats them as resources and then you have all upcoming films fighting for these resources.”

The Forecast platform will soon be deployed in Germany in league with Peter Heinzemann, previously MD of leading independent distributor Senator Films, and in Mexico with Magnolia Deschamps, former Latin American distribution director for Universal, as well as Australia.

Selwyn ran Paramount Pictures in Australia and New Zealand for nine years until he stepped down last October. Before that he served as MD of United International Pictures for 14 years.

“We are very excited to have Mike on board as his expertise will be invaluable, not only on fine tuning our model for the Australian theatrical market but also on planning and implementing future features on the platform,” he said.

“We are building a global team of distribution experts to assist our film analysts and data scientists in creating the best theatrical market simulation platform.”

The model will later be adapted for exhibitors to help them maximize the weekly potential performances of each of their sites.

Some Australian distributors and exhibitors are looking forward to the chance to examine the platform and to evaluate its relevance in this market.

Hoyts Cinemas CEO Damian Keogh tells IF: “There is a lot of talk about the value of data to help increase the effectiveness of marketing to moviegoers. The fragmentation in media has placed more pressure on studios to get the best return on investment they can, often from slim marketing budgets.

“The best data on the moviegoing habits of consumers resides with exhibitors and companies such as Hoyts are exploring the best way to share this with studios to grow the cinema going experience.’

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  1. There’s no evidence provided in this article that indicates whether it ‘works’ or not? What, if any, has been the outcome of testing?

  2. Let’s hope that regional cinemas which take a lot of the BO for Australian features get included… and that Australian films don’t get even more shunted aside by American franchises.

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