Japanese scientists have divined a mathematical model for what they call “The Hit Phenomenon.” By calculating the advertising budget of a film before it’s released, along with the amount of time a campaign runs and its word of mouth quotient on social media, a team from Tottori University worked to predict the success of such films as Spider-Man 3 and Avatar and then compared their findings to actual box office. “They appeared to match very well, meaning the calculations could provide a fairly good prediction of how successful a movie could be even before it is released,” said the Institute of Physics, which published the paper in the New Journal of Physics today. The scientists used the model to calculate the likelihood of an individual going to see a movie in a Japanese theater over a period ranging from 60 days ahead of a movie’s release to 100 days after the opening. Although the study was based on the Japanese market, its lead author, Akira Ishii, told Agence France Presse he thinks the model is “very general. It will work in other countries as well.” He also noted a key benefit of the formula is that companies can calculate the best time to spend advertising dollars. Hollywood could soon get its chance to plug in the formula as AFP says there are hopes to make it commercially available.

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