06/21/2005: Thought for the Day:
For the lay reader, the first impression of movie science is that it takes a lot of research to prove a little common sense. One study mentioned in the meta-paper puts forth an elimination rule: If you go to the theater with a bunch of friends and one of you has already seen one of the movies that's playing, chances are that all of you will see something else instead. Elsewhere, though, the paper's dense social-science prose can be unpacked to reveal sharp insights and (maybe) a faint sense of humor. Here's how the authors summarize the process by which expensive bombs like The Adventures of Pluto Nash come into the world: "[W]hen costs are sunk progressively and information on a project's quality is revealed gradually, rational decision makers can carry projects to completion that realize enormous ex post losses." Rational decision-making led to a $100 million film with Eddie Murphy running a nightclub on the moon in the year 2087. That's funny.
Len on 06.21.05 @ 06:17 AM CST