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Robust Analysis of Movie Earnings


  • W. D. Walls


This article applies recently developed nonparametric kernel regression estimation methods to quantify the conditional distribution of motion picture earnings. The nonparametric, data-driven approach allows the full range of relations among variables to be captured, including nonlinearities that usually remain hidden in parametric models. The nonparametric approach does not assume a functional form, so specification error is not an issue. This study finds that the nonparametric regression model fits the data far better than the logarithmic regression model employed by most applied researchers; it also fits the data much better than a polynomial regression model. The nonparametric model yields substantially different estimates of the elasticity of box-office revenue with respect to production budgets and opening screens, and the model also has very good out-of-sample predictive ability, making it a potentially useful tool for studio management.

Suggested Citation

  • W. D. Walls, 2009. "Robust Analysis of Movie Earnings," Journal of Media Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(1), pages 20-35.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jmedec:v:22:y:2009:i:1:p:20-35
    DOI: 10.1080/08997760902724662

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Qi Li & Jeffrey Scott Racine, 2006. "Density Estimation, from Nonparametric Econometrics: Theory and Practice," Introductory Chapters,in: Nonparametric Econometrics: Theory and Practice Princeton University Press.
    2. Qi Li & Jeffrey Scott Racine, 2006. "Nonparametric Econometrics: Theory and Practice," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 8355.
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    Cited by:

    1. Angela (Xia) Liu & Tridib Mazumdar & Bo Li, 2015. "Counterfactual Decomposition of Movie Star Effects with Star Selection," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 61(7), pages 1704-1721, July.

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