Can ScriptBook algorithm predict movie success?

Can ScriptBook algorithm predict movie success?


Movie making business is still not yet a complete science and is still far away from it. Hollywood tends to have more misses than hits when it comes to Box-Office collections. The industry is heavily dependent on focus groups and statistical analysts who give them an understanding to an extent, though in the end it comes down to gut feeling of the studio heads. A Belgian startup, ScriptBook is hoping to disrupt this industry trend and with its algorithmic script-reading software, they claim to know with greater certainty if a screenplay will be a success or not.

ScriptBook is the brainchild of Nadira Azermai, who recently pitched the idea at The Disrupt London 2015 event organised by TechCrunch. They plan to unveil the software at the upcoming Berlin Film Festival in February. According to the pitch, ScriptBook is adept at reading and understanding most mainstream scripts uploaded to it. The software makes use of natural-language algorithms that read the story from start to finish, creates a report of what works and what does not work in the screenplay.

Can ScriptBook algorithm predict movie success?

The team claim that ScriptBook will know who the main character is, how good the dialogue sounds as well as know if all the story elements are successfully resolved. ScriptBook claims the software will be able to predict how much revenue the movie will earn at the box office. With the first unveiling of the software next February, the team has two months to work on the software and are at current time unwilling to show any demos.

If successful ScriptBook will be launching a cat into the pigeons, it has the potential to disrupt the industry as it works today. Huge swathes of development executives could find their positions at a threat by this upcoming startup.

Similar development have been attempted in the past to a certain degree of success such as MusicXray for the Music industry and Epagogix for films. As well as softwares more traditional source like “The Black list”, an internal industry ranking system by industry executives are existing. However success with these are still not satisfactory. In fact according to an IndieWire.com report, The Black List’s track record is the same as chance: “scripts near the top have been made into terrible movies, and those in the lower reaches have proven to be among the best.”

While we appreciate the potential of the software it still has plenty of questions hanging over the system. What guarantees do we have that the software will be able to appreciate the nuances of cinema? Till next February, we can all only speculate and we will know when the company shows us ScriptBook. We are eager to test it ourselves when the software launches early next year.