Germany's Goldmedia predicts b.o. results

Media research company develops computerized model

COLOGNE, Germany -- Goldmedia, a Berlin-based media research company, has developed a computerized model to forecast the boxoffice performance of German-language films.

Film forecasting models are nothing new to Hollywood but are alien to the European film industry, which fancies itself more artistic than commercially driven. Europe's generous film subsidy system also means that producers here often can get their films financed without worrying about the boxoffice.

But German film is becoming and increasingly lucrative business. Last year, nearly a third (27%) of tickets sold in the territory were for local productions. The majors are already in the business of making German movies -- see Fox International Productions getting behind "Auf Und Davon," the German-language directorial debut of Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz.

Goldmedia's model takes "hard" data: a film's production and marketing budget, the genre, release date and dozens of other factors, and crunches the numbers using the company's database with the performance figures of more than 1,000 German titles. Goldmedia claims a 80% hit rate.

"Four out of five times, our model accurately predicts the performance of a film in the German market," said Florian Kerkau, who heads the research project for Goldmedia.

Kerkau admits the model is less accurate when predicting local-language blockbusters.

"When we look at films that sell more than 1 million tickets in Germany, the accuracy goes does because we have far fewer examples to compare against," he told THR.

Goldmedia also does not include the bankability of a film's stars in its boxoffice calculation.

"Except for Til Schweiger in a romantic comedy, there's no German actor who can guarantee boxoffice results," Kerkau explains.
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