Hewlett Packard recently concluded a study that used Twitter to very accurately predict box office numbers for movies before they were released. The system studied over 3 million messages and accurately predicted box office takes for a number of movies, including the hit film “Avatar”.
Bernardo Huberman, head of the social computing lab at HP, noted that their predictions “were incredibly close.” The HP system predicted that The Crazies would take in $16.8 million; it took it $16.06 million. Other movies were similarly close; if you want to check out the research for yourself, you can do so on the Arxiv website.
The algorithms developed by the lab relied on the speed of tweets and other factors to make the predictions; the faster people tweeted about the movie, the more likely they were to go and actually see it.