Seungkook Roh


Many researchers have analyzed the relationship between the financial success patterns of a motion picture and many other factors, such as the production cost, marketing, stars, awards, reviews, genre, and rating. Through these studies, many researchers and investors concluded that big budgets to make a blockbuster movie can serve as an insurance policy to meet their ROI; thus the box office is dominated by blockbuster movies. High-budget blockbuster movies are more likely to receive attention because these movies are more recognizable given their high expenses for production and casting. Therefore, audiences choose blockbusters in an effort to reduce the searching cost and to mitigate the possibility of a regrettable choice. This behavior of consumers, in turn, causes distributors to allocate screens for blockbusters, resulting in “concentration of blockbuster consumption.” As such, low-budget films cannot easily become popular due to the lack of distribution. Indeed, low-budget films released on a small number of screens often end up becoming dismal failures. However, there are exceptional examples which are contrary to the general idea in the movie industry that a big budget and showings on a large number of screens can guarantee the success of a movie.
Although researchers have attempted to analyze the performances of movies with small budgets, such movies are likely to be regarded as outliers and then be entirely discarded, as they are far from the ‘three-sigma’ range, especially given that previous research methodologies could not explain the financial success of such unique examples. This study attempts to explain the financial success at the box office of low-budget movies by applying the concept of the tunnel effect in quantum mechanics, as the phenomenon found in the movie industry is similar to a particle’s movement in quantum physics. The tunneling effect is a phenomenon by which a particle without enough energy to pass over a potential barrier tunnels through it. Adopting the analogy, this study draws a tunneling probability function and cultural constant to forecast other outliers using the Schrodinger equation. Moreover, the study finds that word-of-mouth creates in the movie industry this phenomenon of finding outliers.

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