Drew Sullivan

Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2010

Capstone Advisor

Professor Rohfls

Honors Reader

Professor Kubik

Capstone Major


Capstone College


Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

Economics | Growth and Development | Income Distribution


In this paper, I attempted to determine the relationship between a movie’s box office success and the immediate timing of its release. Considering the large investment that needs to be made in producing and distributing a major motion picture, a full understanding of the factors that affect its success is vital. One factor that has been historically underexplored is the impact of movies that are directly competing with each other at the box office. This has been due to limitations in data. However, using publicly available data I was able to put together a dataset that looked at box office results at the movie-weekend level. Using this I constructed two models. The first takes a broad historical approach, using a prior weekend’s attendance numbers as an approximation of viewer fatigue. The second uses specific instances of a trend break (the release of top grossing movie of the year) to look for a level effect on both new movies entering the market and box office returns in general. Results of the study suggest that a movie’s opening weekend is not strongly dependent on the immediate box office, in both a general sense and in response to a blockbuster movie. Instead, we see adverse effects on those already in the market after a blockbuster’s release relative to other circumstances. I interpreted these results in their application to market timing.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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