Avatar Opening Dec 17 & 18 2009

The movie Avatar had its much anticipated opening in Europe Dec 17 and in the US Dec 18 2009. It was such a major hit, breaking records and pleasing not only movigoers but critics, that it seemed likely to be an interesting GCP event. It was, however infeasible to make a formal prediction because there was apparently no well-defined time. Some of the blogs and media coverage suggested 24 hours, or 3 days of opening.

Given the information that the 17th and 18th Dec were the major opening days, I decided to take a look at those days. The figure shows the 48 UTC hours, with 8pm UTC marked. This would be roughly the time for an evening movie in Europe, and for a midday matinee in the US. The figure is interesting, but of course, given our small S/N ratio, can't be reliably interpreted.

Avatar Opening
Dec 17 & 18 2009

It is important to keep in mind that we have only a tiny statistical effect, so that it is always hard to distinguish signal from noise. This means that every "success" might be largely driven by chance, and every "null" might include a real signal overwhelmed by noise. In the long run, a real effect can be identified only by patiently accumulating replications of similar analyses.

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