Talk About “By the Numbers”

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Bowling scenes tend to pop up in films that fizzle, Mr. Bruzzese, 39, continued. Therefore it is statistically unwise to include one in your script. “A cursed superhero never sells as well as a guardian superhero,” one like Superman who acts as a protector, he added.

In hopes of producing more financially successful movies, studios can now hire Vinny Bruzzese, a former statistics professor, to analyze their scripts from a mathematical perspective.

Is the statistical approach “a pell-mell rush for the middle of the road,” or does it produce “the best notes on a draft” a writer could hope for? The New York Times tries to puzzle it out.


Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →