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Finding the connection between Google searches, movie box office

June 06, 2013|By Dawn C. Chmielewski
  • Google Inc. released a new study examining the connection between movie searches and the box office performance of a film like "Man of Steel."
Google Inc. released a new study examining the connection between movie… (Warner Bros. / Warner Bros. )

The decision about what movie to see on a Friday night is no spur-of-the-moment exercise, according to a new study from Google Inc. that examined the correlation between movie searches and box office performance.

Moviegoers typically consult 13 sources before deciding what to watch. Even though the number of major studio releases is contracting, Google found that film searches actually rose 56% in 2012 compared with a year earlier.

Search volume predictably rises as a film approaches its theatrical debut, but Google found that the strongest predictor of box office is how many people sought out the movie trailer four weeks before a film's release.

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Trailer search volume, together with the status of the movie franchise and time of year, can predict opening box office with 94% accuracy, Google found.

During slower box office weeks -- those without a high-profile premiere of a film like "Iron Man 3" or "Man of Steel" -- moviegoers use such generic terms as "new movies" or "movie tickets" to figure out what move they plan to watch.

Almost half of moviegoers decide what film to watch the day they purchase their tickets.

The findings were based on an analysis of 99 of the top box office films of 2012.

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