The relationship between reviewer judgments and motion picture success: re-analysis and extension
The relationship between the judgments of professional reviewers and the economic success of cultural products, such as motion pictures, has been the topic of controversial debates involving both scholars and industry experts. This study builds on previous research that distinguishes an “influencer effect” of reviews from a “predictor effect.” By empirically separating consumers’ and reviewers’ perceptions of movie quality through an auxiliary regression approach (and thus effectively controls for consumers’ quality perceptions), this study advances the discussion by investigating whether and how isolated reviewer quality perceptions are associated with box office results. The authors empirically test a non-linear effect of reviewers’ quality perceptions on box office returns, including a comprehensive investigation of the moderating forces of this relationship, using regression and simple slope analyses. Data from all 1,370 narrative films released in the United States between 1998 and 2006 reveal that though the short-term box office generally is not influenced by isolated reviewer quality perceptions, a non-linear relationship exists between reviews and long-term box office returns, such that films rated highly by reviewers are more strongly influenced than those that are not. In terms of moderators, the authors find evidence for several arthouse and mainstream characteristics to moderate the relationship between isolated reviewer quality perceptions and box office results.
KeywordsMotion pictures Professional movie reviews Experience goods Creative products Box office Mainstream Art house Moderation
Parts of this research were conducted when the first author was a professor at Bauhaus-University of Weimar. We acknowledge the multifarious support for our work we have received from the Bauhaus media school’s faculty in general and Armin Rott, Matthias Maier, and Ursula Schmitt in particular.
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