Have you ever seen or not seen a movie in theaters based on opening day Twitter reviews? That’s what movie studios are asking themselves now, according to a recent Reuters piece on the “Twitter effect.” The concept is simple: Studios gauge fan buzz from the percentage a film drops in box office receipts from one week to the next. With moviegoers Tweeting from their seats as the credits roll, word-of-mouth reviews start sooner and spread more quickly. If Paul Dergarabedian, president of tracking firm Hollywood.com Box Office, is to be believed, “If people don’t like the movie now on Friday it can die by Saturday.” Do you buy that? Maybe we need to break it down further:
1) Have you ever posted a movie review on Twitter? I’m thinking if you’re on Twitter, the answer is going to be yes. Snap judgments like “Highly recommend (500) Days of Summer” — the non-love story love story starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zoey Deschanel — are things that easily come in under 140-characters and take two seconds to type if you don’t have to look up how many ‘c’s and ‘m’s are in recommend.
2) Do you click on movie titles like Borat or Harry Potter when they’re trending to get a feel for the general response?
3) Has that Twitter feedback actually affected whether or not you went to a film? I’ll admit that seeing so many people talk about how great Star Trek was probably got me into a theater sooner. But I think, for me, it’s more of a case of quality over quantity: After a trusted colleague tweeted this — “Ugly Truth junket disrupted by bomb threat to Beverly Hills hotel. The threat is still real; this supposed rom-com is dreadful” — I suddenly started thinking I might not have to see the Katherine Heigl/Gerard Butler flick this weekend. Before Twitter or Facebook, I wouldn’t necessarily have known this person’s take on the movie, nor would I have had to choose whether or not to let said take tamper with mine. (But who am I kidding? I’m totally seeing it.)
addCredit(“Ugly Truth: Saeed Adyani”)