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Self-organized coordination in collective response of non-interacting agents: Emergence of bimodality in box-office success

Anindya S. Chakrabarti, Sitabhra Sinha

posted on 16 December 2013

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Many socio-economic phenomena are characterized by the appearance of a few "hit" products having a substantially higher popularity compared to their often equivalent competitors, reflected in a bimodal distribution of response (success). Using the example of box-office performance of movies, we show that the empirically observed bimodality can emerge via self-organization in a model where agents (theatres) independently decide whether to adapt a new movie. The response exhibits extreme variability even in the absence of learning or communication between agents and suggests that properly timing the release is a key determinant of box-office success.