Blockbuster or bust? How boring AI predicts Hollywood hits

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Blockbuster or bust? How boring AI predicts Hollywood hits

Netflix has proven the money-spinning worth of data, and Hollywood is finally catching on

Laurence Dodds

It was easy to be optimistic about John Carter, Disney’s grand 2012 movie adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Martian novels.

Despite a troubled gestation, it had a lauded director (Andrew Stanton of Finding Nemo), star writer (novelist Michael Chabon) and $350m of Walt’s money. But Black Swan, a UK artificial intelligence (AI) firm hired by Disney to predict successful films, thought John Carter looked like a flop. It was.

“But no one listened,” says Steve King, Black Swan co-founder and chief executive. “People absolutely convince themselves ... but the machines are always right – boringly always right.”..

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