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Maths - In the spotlight

Box office smash

The financial risks of movie-making might be a thing of the past now that a group of Japanese physicists has created a maths model to predict box office success.

What is it?

Scientists studied the daily advertising costs of 25 films appearing in Japanese cinemas and measured word-of-mouth presence on social networking sites, to help them make revenue predictions that correlated, approximately, with the films' actual box office takings. The research, recently published by the UK's Institute of Physics, studied the Japanese releases of films including The Da Vinci Code, Transformers (above) and Avatar, and found that the number of daily blog posts about each film roughly paralleled its total revenue.

Why is it useful?

Pupils can view the world with mathematical and analytical eyes. There are also other trends that pupils could learn to understand or dissect using maths. The Japanese researchers now plan to apply their box office model to online music, local events and noodle cups.

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