Micro-blogging service Twitter can be used to predict the future box-office takings of blockbuster films, according to researchers at Hewlett Packard (HP).

Twitters very popular and the rapid and abundant flow of messages can be a gold mine to find new trends and predict market success.

Two American researchers at HP Labs in the U.S. have developed a method for using Twitter to predict whether an upcoming movie will be a public success or failure. They analyzed three million “tweets” about 25 cinema movies for three months with the help of different algorithms that they developed.

The computer processing also included details of the movies release dates and how many cinemas would show them. The aim was to predict how much money the movies would make during the opening weekend.

-Our predictions were incredibly close, Bernardo Huberman, head of the social computing lab at HP, told BBC News.

– For example, he said, the system predicted that the zombie film “The Crazies” would make $16.8 million in its first weekend in the US. It actually made $16.06 million.

The romantic drama “Dear John” sold for 30.46 million U.S. dollars during the first few days. The researchers had predicted 30.71 million U.S. dollars.

The average accuracy of the movies included in the study was about 90 percent, according to the researchers report, “Predicting the Future With Social Media” .

However, Dr Huberman believes it could be of use in forecasting other trends, such as how well a gadget or product will sell. Elements such as sentiment analysis are also being used by other groups.

For example, it is being used by an organisation called Tweetminster to monitor the UK general election to work out whether online buzz correlates with the winners.