Greenlight Essentials is taking Hollywood by storm

How do you solve Hollywood’s biggest contemporary problem: finding an audience? More than ever, production studios are struggling to make money with their films but Jack Zhang, founder of Greenlight Essentials believes it’s because they aren’t tapping into audience interest.

“Studios are slowly dying because they don’t know what people want. They are betting millions of dollars on a film that can essentially have no audience.”

That’s where Greenlight Essentials comes in – they offer software that movie producers can use to forecast the popularity of a film, in order to make informed production decisions. The platform provides statistics on what movies do well historically, and with what audience. The company began as a university research project, taking advantage of Zhang’s interest in movies, data, and analytics.

In 2011, Zhang started collecting movie data and quickly realized that his algorithm would work. Since then, he’s been focused on bringing it to market by making the data interpretable through user-friendly software that movie producers can utilize. To do this, he’s visited the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) three years in a row to network and get feedback on his product, and was even asked to speak on a panel on the topic of data-driven content development. Most recently, at TIFF 2016, Zhang met with some of the biggest production houses in Hollywood, showing them the benefits of his product.

Greenlight Essentials’ product provides a solution to a fairy complex problem. Movie studios are running into problems generating a profit, not only because they can’t identify an audience, but also due to online piracy of movies, and because people simply have too many options.

“People today are crowded with a lot of content that was not around 10, or 20 years ago. Even on your iPhone you can produce a video and put it on YouTube, and that’s content. And if it’s good enough, it can draw some eyeballs. But there are only 24 hours in a day. 30 to 40 years ago the only entertainment was TV and movies, but now you have to compete for attention.”

In an increasingly data-driven society, Zhang argues that the movie industry needs to get on board, or risk being left behind, “We still need creativity. We still need people making films. It’s just that now, they can make more informed decisions.” Most recently, Greenlight Essentials launched their trailer for the first movie co-written by AI. The film will start production soon, and will be released hopefully sometime next year. If it were up to Greenlight Essentials, more and more films will get the green light the same way. Zhang has been steadily adding new features to his platform, and looks forward to launching them at the Cannes Film Festival next year. In the future, Zhang sees Greenlight Essentials as not just a software company, but one actively involved in the production of films.

Check out Greenlight Essentials’ movie trailer below!