Flop or not? ScriptBook AI predicts which movies will be box-office bombs

Assassin's Creed movie review
When you consider the frankly bonkers amount of money that is spent on bringing Hollywood movies to theaters, it’s somewhat surprising to hear that the number of people involved in the decision-making process is still relatively small. Sure, there are a few highly paid execs in the mix and reshoots are an option if a test audience reacts badly, but it’s still basically a multimillion dollar crapshoot based on a few people’s personal preferences.

If your response to this is “Can’t we just hand it over to a robot to decide?” then you may be about to get your wish, courtesy of a new automated script picker startup named ScriptBook and its Script2Screen software. And it swears that not all the movies it picks will be about the triumph of the machine revolution.

“The Script2Screen solution is an AI-based assessment that indicates the commercial and critical success [of a project], along with insights on the storyline, target demographics, market positioning, distribution parameters [and more] prior to any made costs,” ScriptBook CEO Nadira Azermai told Digital Trends. “The only input it requires from the user is the upload of a script. The added value of our technology lies in the improvement on the current, human decision-making process throughout the spectrum from script to screen; limiting false decision-making while maximizing the potential for commercial and critical success.”

Massive Hollywood hits can be unpredictable, of course, largely due to the fact that there is no precedent for the kinds of Avatar-size hits which obliterate existing box office records.

To that end, ScriptBook’s work focuses more on “turkey shooting” by singling out the scripts which absolutely shouldn’t make it into production. Since major studios have been brought down by misplaced faith in certain movie flops, ScriptBook could serve a valuable role in this capacity.

ai scriptbook startup screenshots2
A sample of one of the company’s reports.

“We performed an impact study on a slate of American productions between 2014 and 2016,” Azermai continued. “With the script as the only input, our intelligent solution gave a green light to a big share of the movies that were indeed profitable at the U.S. box office. Our intelligent solution was [also] highly effective in eliminating those films that were falsely greenlit by studios and production companies. This means that our solution increases total attainable profit potential, by preventing production of most value-destructing titles.”

Studios that work with ScriptBook can submit scripts online. Once a script has been received, it is processed by the system and analysis sent out within 48 hours. At present, Azermai said that ScriptBook is being put through its paces by a number of entertainment companies in the U.S. and Europe, although “due to non-disclosure agreements we cannot share this information.”

While it’s not the only company to be exploring this potentially lucrative area (a similar startup named Epagogix in the U.K. was profiled by none other than Malcolm Gladwell a few years back), it’s definitely intriguing to hear about what ScriptBook is up to. Between automated script generation, CGI actors and, now, robot movie execs, the movie industry of 2027 promises to look very different to the one of 2017.

Smart Home

The Alea Air can keep your air clean and adjust the temperature in every room

Alea's Air, a smart vent system that uses sensor-filled vents and machine learning, will make sure that your air quality is superb and the temperature is always perfect in every room of your home.
Movies & TV

'Venom' is all tooth and tongue in the latest movie posters

Tom Hardy will play the lead role in Sony Pictures' Venom. Here's everything we know about the solo feature for the popular Spider-Man spinoff character ahead of the film's 2018 premiere in theaters.
Emerging Tech

Neural networks? Machine learning? Here's your secret decoder for A.I. buzzwords

Don't know your machine learning from your evolutionary algorithms? Worried every time you sit on a bus in case Google's Larry Page sits down next to you with a pop quiz? Our handy A.I. buzzword guide is here to help.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in September 2018, from 'Spotlight’ to ‘Black Panther’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.
Emerging Tech

Crazy vending machine swaps computer art for your permanent selfie

Coder artist Matthias Dörfelt's camera-equipped vending machine swaps unique prints of computer-generated faces for the rights to upload your selfie onto the main Ethereum blockchain.
Emerging Tech

No more scraping? Anti-frosting advance could mark end of frozen windshields

Hate frozen windshields in winter? Researchers at Virginia Tech may have found a way to banish them for good, thanks to the world’s first passive anti-frosting surface. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Japanese billionaire faces tricky task of choosing 8 artists for his moon trip

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has been named as SpaceX's first-ever paying passenger for a trip to the moon in 2023. He says he wants to take eight artists with him. But how will he choose them? And will they accept?
Smart Home

Who needs Stitch Fix? Maison Me uses A.I. to custom design clothing just for you

With backing from Google, a new Silicon Valley-based startup called Maison Me is offering A.I.-assisted, designed-to-order clothing. It's like a personal styling service on steroids.
Emerging Tech

Swiss researcher offers blueprints for animal-friendly autonomous machines

A scientist worries that our high-tech future fails to consider the well-being of other creatures: "Machine ethics has so far concentrated almost exclusively on automatic actions that affect people."
Emerging Tech

The Flamethrower Diet is better than keto and I burned all this food to prove it

When I first caught word that Elon Musk's Boring Company was selling a fully-functional flamethrower, I knew right away that I wanted to use it as a replacement for all of my modern cooking appliances. Why use a microwave when you can use a…

Facebook appears set on crafting custom silicon for augmented reality devices

Facebook's latest job postings are seeking engineers and developers for custom augmented reality chipsets, and seem to support speculation that the company is looking to produce AR glasses.
Emerging Tech

Don’t be fooled — this automated system sneakily manipulates video content

In the vein of “deep fakes," Recycle-GAN, a new system from Carnegie Mellon University, presents another case for how difficult it will be to distinguish fiction from reality in the future.
Emerging Tech

Moxi the ‘friendly’ hospital robot wants to help nurses, not replace them

Moxi is a "friendly" hospital robot from Texas-based Diligent Robotics. The wheel-based bot, which begins trials this week, aims to free nurses from routine tasks so they can spend more time with patients.
Emerging Tech

How do 3D printers work? Here’s a super-simple breakdown

How do 3D printers work, exactly? If you ever wondered how these magical machines create 3D objects in a matter of hours, then look no further than this dead-simple breakdown of the four most common printing technologies.