Archives for movies



How Much Do Music and Movie Piracy Really Hurt the U.S. Economy?

Supporters of stronger intellectual property enforcement — such as those behind the proposed new Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) bills in Congress — argue that online piracy is a huge problem, one which costs the U.S. economy between $200 and $250 billion per year, and is responsible for the loss of 750,000 American jobs. 

These numbers seem truly dire: a $250 billion per year loss would be almost $800 for every man, woman, and child in America. And 750,000 jobs – that’s twice the number of those employed in the entire motion picture industry in 2010.

The good news is that the numbers are wrong. Read More »



Movie Review Bias: Time Warner vs. News Corp.

Does media concentration lead to biased coverage? A new paper from two Berkeley economists, Stefano Delavigna and Alec Kennedy, studies News Corp. and Time Warner, and approaches the big question through a small window: movie reviews. Here’s the abstract: Read More »



Who Should Play Stephen Dubner in Turbulent Souls Film?

Stephen Dubner’s first book, Turbulent Souls, has been optioned by The Group Entertainment (Variety‘s report here), with writer Larry Gross (48 Hours, True Crime, We Don’t Live Here Anymore) to adapt the memoir for the big screen. Not that we have a say in this, but just for fun we’d like to find out which actor Freakonomics readers think should play the Dubner in the film. Read More »



Quotes Uncovered: Memorable Movie Lines

Two years ago, I asked for suggestions for the most memorable movie lines of recent years, to help with the next edition of The Yale Book of Quotations. Let me repeat my “bleg” from that time, and ask again for suggestions Read More »



On-Screen Smoking Down (But Still High)

From a new CDC report: “To monitor the extent to which tobacco use is shown in popular movies, Thumbs Up! Thumbs Down! (TUTD), a project of Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails, counted the occurrences of tobacco use (termed “incidents”) shown in U.S. top-grossing movies during 1991-2009. This report summarizes the results of that study, which found that the number of tobacco incidents depicted in the movies during this period peaked in 2005 and then progressively declined.” Read More »



Box-Office Science

Imagine a world where Hollywood producers could predict, with scientific precision, the box office revenue a movie will generate just by reading the screenplay. A new forecasting model devised by a trio of marketing professors from Wharton and NYU promises to deliver something like that. Read More »



How to Become an Insta-Expert: A Confession

Using the prediction markets to become an insta-expert in just about anything. Read More »



An Economist’s View of the New Oscar Voting

Sunday’s Oscar night will be different. First, there are now ten nominees for best picture. But perhaps more importantly, the voting system has changed. Read More »