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Can Big Data Movie-making End The Reign Of The Superhero Films?

25 November, 2019

Ok, so hands up, who amongst you is not secretly sick of watching superhero films? Well, while not everyone has put their hand up, there are certainly enough hands for me to continue.


From time to time, all of us just want to switch off and escape. Such sentiment has been the backbone of the global success of the superhero action movie. While there are a few superhero movies that force us to ask ourselves some difficult questions, most avoid such troublesome things and simply spend a few hours setting up the all-important happy ending.


Last year we touched on the topic of ‘The Superhero Genre: What Does It Say About Us?’ in an effort to analyze why the world has gone crazy for this genre.


In this follow up article, we want to assess whether big data movie-making can end the reign of the superhero films?

What Is Data-Driven Movie making?

Big data is changing the world around us.


Though data has been being used to understand the way we all think and behave since before the computer was even invented, the advent of the internet and the personal computer has sent this science into the stratosphere.


Today, global companies collect a phenomenal amount of data about us. Everything from our location to the kinds of products that we like to spend our money on is being collected. When it comes to social media, we are the driver of this information exchange as we rush to post our latest photos and comments.


Sadly, in some cases, this data has not been used as intended, but rather sold onto third parties for more insidious uses such as the ones highlighted during the Cambridge Analytica scandal of 2018.



Regardless of such morally deplorable uses, most companies simply put our data to work to improve their services and user satisfaction. When it comes to the movie business, there are a few companies that are using a range of public data sources to improve the films that we see.


One such company is our own Largo. Largo and a team of leading data scientists have developed a sophisticated big data analytics program called LargoAI.


LargoAI is able to analyze and identify patterns in a manner that allows it to provide valuable ‘insights’ to movie-makers regarding all aspects of their films.


Everything from predicted regional theatre gross to plot changes that could boost the revenue of the final film can be identified by LargoAI. While there is still a huge development potential for LargoAI, the program has shown itself to be incredibly accurate in its predictions.


Can Big Data Bring Down The Superhero Movie?

For those of us who are sick of seeing superhero films dominating our local movie theaters, hope might soon be on its way.


Director Martin Scorsese recently highlighted the saturation of the global film market with superhero films. Many of us are starting to doubt our memories regarding a time when you had a choice of multiple different genres and types of films at the movie theater.


What most people don’t realize is that people’s tastes are often guided by the industry. One example is the ever more fast-paced action sequences that studios add to their films to try to keep us interested.


Watch a 70s action movie by the likes of Chuck Norris and then see how you think the action compares to modern-day movies. No doubt you will be turning it off in no time, and not just because of Norris’ terrible acting skills either.


Most of us would be more than happy to watch another kind of film. The problem is that we don’t want to watch the same type.



Given that the numbers show a marked interest in other types of movies, the question is, how can studios tap into this market by offering us different types of movies to watch? The answer could well be data-assisted movie-making.


To start with, data-assisted movie-making is able to identify the level of demand for other movie genres. Netflix, for example, already has this information and so plans its movie and TV production around this data.


Such information will not only tell the studios exactly how many people will go to see a specific movie even before it has left the script phase (a service that Largo currently offers) but can also tell them their geographic location too.


This will allow them to release films in the future in the exact movie theaters where they will fill seats. In one swoop, this will solve the problem by allowing the studios to make money while giving audiences a choice once more.


Another way that data-driven movie-making will help end the reign of the superhero movie is by allowing studios access to the information that will allow them to make better movies. Currently, Largo offers a service whereby it will analyze a script and provide accurate ‘insights’ and suggestions on how to make the movie more appealing.


The insights show how audiences will react to all aspects of the current movie while the suggestions offer improved changes that audiences will like. Naturally, if audiences prefer these changes, more of them will go to see the movie.


These two components have the power to improve lower budget movies and bring audiences to see them. When small budget movies can get these two things right, we will see movie theaters start to move away from the financial safe bet of the superhero action movie.

Ok, so hands up, who amongst you is not secretly sick of watching superhero films? Well, while not everyone has put their hand up, there are certainly enough hands for me to continue.