This paper is about a marketing decision support system in the movie industry. The decision support system of interest is a model that generates weekly movie schedules in a multiplex movie theater. A movie schedule specifies, for each day of the week, on which screen(s) different movies will be played, and at which time(s). The model integrates elements from marketing (the generation of demand figures) with approaches from operations research (the optimization procedure). Therefore, it consists of two parts: (i) conditional forecasts of the number of visitors per show for any possible starting time, and (ii) a scheduling procedure that quickly finds a near optimal schedule (which can be demonstrated to be close to the optimal schedule). To generate this schedule, we formulate the "movie scheduling problem" as a generalized set partitioning problem. The latter is solved with an algorithm based on column generation techniques. We tested the combined demand forecasting/schedule optimization procedure in a multiplex in Amsterdam, generating movie schedules for fourteen weeks. The proposed model not only makes movie scheduling easier and less time consuming, but also generates schedules that attract more visitors than current "intuition-based" schedules.

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ERIM Top-Core Articles , Econometric Institute Reprint Series
International Journal of Research in Marketing
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Eliashberg, J., Hegie, Q., Ho, J., Huisman, D., Miller, S., Swami, S., … Wierenga, B. (2009). Demand-driven scheduling of movies in a multiplex. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 26(2), 75–88. doi:10.1016/j.ijresmar.2008.09.004