This paper describes a model that generates weekly movie schedules in a multiplex movie theater. A movie schedule specifies within each day of the week, on which screen(s) different movies will be played, and at which time(s). The model consists of two parts: (i) conditional forecasts of the number of visitors per show for any possible starting time; and (ii) an optimization procedure that quickly finds an almost optimal schedule (which can be demonstrated to be close to the optimal schedule). To generate this schedule we formulate the so-called movie scheduling problem as a generalized set partitioning problem. The latter is solved with an algorithm based on column generation techniques. We have applied this combined demand forecasting /schedule optimization procedure to a multiplex in Amsterdam where we supported the scheduling of fourteen movie weeks. The proposed model not only makes movie scheduling easier and less time consuming, but also generates schedules that would attract more visitors than the current ‘intuition-based’ schedules.

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Keywords column generation, demand forecasting, integer programming, optimization of movie schedules
Persistent URL
Series Econometric Institute Research Papers
Journal Report / Econometric Institute, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Eliashberg, J, Hegie, Q, Ho, J, Huisman, D, Miller, S.J, Swami, S, … Wierenga, B. (2007). Demand-driven scheduling of movies in a multiplex (No. EI 2007-17). Report / Econometric Institute, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from