From an NPR article, Are Movies Getting Better?
The famous screenwriter William Goldman had a saying about the ability of the movie studios to predict what would be a critical or commercial success: “Nobody knows anything.” Waldfogel calls this “Goldman’s Law,”
The methodology described in the article to arrive at its conclusion is flawed, but that one tidbit is something I keep coming back to: Hollywood hasn’t a clue about how to predict film success.
If someone wanted to become fabulously rich, one could do it by inventing the means to determine whether a film will be a success or a failure. Ideally, before the film is made.
Another problem Hollywood has is marketing. In my opinion, many good films flopped at the box office because they were marketed badly, and then went on to grow a “cult following”. Fight Club is a classic example. It was marketed as a film about fighting. No wonder no one wanted to pay to watch it.