Abstract. Numerical data for all movies released in theaters in the USA during the period 1997-2003 are examined for the distribution of their popularity in terms of (i) the number of weeks they spent in the Top 60 according to the weekend earnings, and (ii) the box-office gross during the opening week, as well as, the total duration for which they were shown in theaters. These distributions show long tails where the most popular movies are located. Like the study of Redner [S. Redner, Eur. Phys. J. B 4, 131 (1998)] on the distribution of citations to individual papers, our results are consistent with a power-law dependence of the rank distribution of gross revenues for the most popular movies with a exponent close to −1/2. PACS. 89.75.Da Systems obeying scaling laws – 89.65.-s Social and economic systems – 02.50.-r Probability theory, stochastic processes, and statistics In recent times there has been a surge of interest in applying statistical mechanics to understand socio-economic phenomena . The aim is to seek out patterns in the aggregate behavior of interacting agents, which can be individuals, groups, companies or nations. Examples of such patterns arising in a social or economic context includ
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