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Modeling movie success when "nobody knows anything": Conditional stable distribution analysis of film returns

  • W David Walls

In this paper we apply a recently-developed statistical model that explicitly accounts for the extreme uncertainty surrounding film returns. The conditional distribution of box-office returns is analyzed using the stable distribution regression model. The regression coefficients in this model represent what is known about the correlates of film success while at the same time permitting the variance of film success at the box office to be infinite. The empirical analysis shows that the conditional distribution of film returns has infinite variance, and this invalidates statistical inferences from the often-applied least-squares regression model. The estimates of the stable regression confirm some earlier results on the statistics of the movie business and the analysis demonstrates how to model box-office success in the movie business where ``nobody knows anything''

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Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society 2004 Far Eastern Meetings with number 409.

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Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:feam04:409
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  1. Chris Hand, 2002. "The Distribution and Predictability of Cinema Admissions," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 53-64, February.
  2. De Vany, Arthur S. & Walls, W. David, 2004. "Motion picture profit, the stable Paretian hypothesis, and the curse of the superstar," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 1035-1057, March.
  3. De Vany, A. & Walls, W.D., 2000. "Does Hollywood make too many R-Rated Movies? Risk, Stochastic Dominance, and the Illusion of Expectation," Papers 99-00-24, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  4. Benoit Mandelbrot, 1963. "The Variation of Certain Speculative Prices," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36, pages 394.
  5. Benoit Mandelbrot, 1963. "New Methods in Statistical Economics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 71, pages 421.
  6. Steven Albert, 1998. "Movie Stars and the Distribution of Financially Successful Films in the Motion Picture Industry," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 249-270, December.
  7. Blattberg, Robert & Sargent, Thomas J, 1971. "Regression with Non-Gaussian Stable Disturbances: Some Sampling Results," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(3), pages 501-10, May.
  8. Arthur De Vany & W. Walls, 1999. "Uncertainty in the Movie Industry: Does Star Power Reduce the Terror of the Box Office?," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 285-318, November.
  9. Halvorsen, Robert & Palmquist, Raymond, 1980. "The Interpretation of Dummy Variables in Semilogarithmic Equations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 474-75, June.
  10. Victor Ginsburgh, 2001. "Economics of arts and culture," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/1869, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  11. De Vany, Arthur & Walls, W David, 1996. "Bose-Einstein Dynamics and Adaptive Contracting in the Motion Picture Industry," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(439), pages 1493-1514, November.
  12. Eugene F. Fama, 1963. "Mandelbrot and the Stable Paretian Hypothesis," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36, pages 420.
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