Advertisement

Journal of Cultural Economics

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 249–283 | Cite as

The relationship between reviewer judgments and motion picture success: re-analysis and extension

  • Thorsten Hennig-Thurau
  • André Marchand
  • Barbara Hiller
Original Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Motion pictures Professional movie reviews Experience goods Creative products Box office Mainstream Art house Moderation 

JEL

L82 M31 

Notes

Acknowledgments

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.

References

  1. Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  2. Armstrong, J. S., Brodie, R., & Parsons, A. (2001). Hypotheses in marketing science: Literature review and publication audit. Marketing Letters, 12(2), 171–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Basuroy, S., Chatterjee, S., & Ravid, A. (2003). How critical are critical reviews? The box office effects of film critics, star power, and budgets. Journal of Marketing, 67(4), 103–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Basuroy, S., Desai, K. K., & Talukdar, D. (2006). An empirical investigation of signaling in the motion picture industry. Journal of Marketing Research, 43(2), 287–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bikchandani, S., Hirshleifer, D., & Welch, I. (1992). A theory of fads fashion, custom, and cultural change as informational cascades. Journal of Political Economy, 100(5), 992–1026.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boatwright, P., Basuroy, S., & Kamakura, W. (2007). Reviewing the reviewers: The impact of individual film critics on box office performance. Quantitative Marketing and Economics, 5(4), 401–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brewer, S. M., Kelley, J. M., & Jozefowicz, J. J. (2009). A blueprint for success in the US film industry. Applied Economics, 41(5), 589–606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cameron, S. (1995). On the role of critics in the culture industry. Journal of Cultural Economics, 19(4), 321–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chang, B.-H., & Ki, E.-J. (2005). Devising a practical model for predicting theatrical movie success: Focusing on the experience good property. Journal of Media Economics, 18(4), 247–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chen, X., Chen, Y., & Weinberg, C. B. (2007). Learning about movies: An empirical analysis of the platform release strategy. Presentation, Marketing Science Conference, Singapore.Google Scholar
  11. Cohen, J., Cohen, P., West, S., & Aiken, L. (2003). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences (3rd ed.). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  12. Collins, A., Hand, C., & Snell, M. C. (2002). What makes a blockbuster? Economic analysis of film success in the United Kingdom. Managerial and Decision Economics, 23(6), 343–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. D’Astous, A., & Touil, N. (1999). Consumer evaluations of movies on the basis of critics’ judgments. Psychology & Marketing, 16(8), 677–694.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. De Vany, A., & Walls, D. (2002). Does Hollywood make too many R-rated movies? Risk, stochastic dominance, and the illusion of expectation. Journal of Business, 75(3), 425–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. De Vany, A., & Walls, D. (2004). Big budgets, big openings, and legs: Analysis of the blockbuster strategy. In A. De Vany (Ed.), Hollywood economics: How extreme uncertainty shapes the film industry (pp. 122–138). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Dellarocas, C., Zhang, X. M., & Awad, N. F. (2007). Exploring the value of online product reviews in forecasting sales: The case of motion pictures. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 21(4), 23–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Desai, K., & Basuroy, S. (2005). Interactive influence of genre familiarity, star power, and critics’ reviews in the cultural goods industry: The case of motion pictures. Psychology & Marketing, 22(3), 203–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Elberse, A., & Anand, B. (2007). The effectiveness of pre-release advertising for motion pictures: An empirical investigation using a simulated market. Information Economics and Policy, 19, 319–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Elberse, A., & Eliashberg, J. (2003). Demand and supply dynamics for sequentially released products in international markets: The case of motion pictures. Marketing Science, 22(3), 329–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Eliashberg, J., & Shugan, S. (1997). Film critics: Influencers or predictors? Journal of Marketing, 61(2), 68–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Elliott, C., & Simmons, R. (2008). Determinants of UK box office success: The impact of quality signals. Review of Industrial Organization, 33(2), 93–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Epstein, E. J. (2010). The Hollywood economist: The hidden financial reality behind the movies. New York: Melville House.Google Scholar
  23. Fitzsimons, G. J. (2008). Death to dichotomizing. Journal of Consumer Research, 35(1), 5–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. French, P. (2000). This one’s a hit…. The Guardian, July 23. Retrieved June 13 2011 from http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2000/jul/23/philipfrench.
  25. Gemser, G., Van Oostrum, M., & Leenders, M. (2007). The impact of film reviews on the box office performance of art house versus mainstream motion pictures. Journal of Cultural Economics, 31(1), 43–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hadida, A. (2008). Motion picture performance: A review and research agenda. International Journal of Management Reviews, 11(3), 297–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hennig-Thurau, T., Houston, M. B., & Heitjans, T. (2009). Conceptualizing and measuring the monetary value of brand extensions: The case of motion pictures. Journal of Marketing, 73(6), 167–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hennig-Thurau, T., Houston, M. B., & Walsh, G. (2006). The differing roles of success drivers across sequential channels: An application to the motion picture industry. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 34(4), 559–575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hennig-Thurau, T., Völckner, F., & Clement, M. (2011). The financial value of stars, revisited: An ingredient branding approach accounting for sample selection bias, context effects, and multiple channels. SSRN Working Paper. Available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=1763547.
  30. Hennig-Thurau, T., Walsh, G., & Wruck, O. (2001). An investigation into the factors determining the success of service innovations: The case of motion pictures. Academy of Marketing Science Review, 1(6), 1–33.Google Scholar
  31. Ho, J. Y. C., Dhar, T., & Weinberg, C. B. (2009). Playoff payoff: Super Bowl advertising for movies. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 26, 168–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Holbrook, M. B. (1999). Popular appeal versus expert judgments of motion pictures. Journal of Consumer Research, 26(2), 144–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Holbrook, M. B. (2005). The role of ordinary evaluations in the market for popular culture: Do consumers have “good taste”? Marketing Letters, 16(2), 75–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Holbrook, M. B., & Addis, M. (2007). Taste versus the market: An extension of research on the consumption of popular culture. Journal of Consumer Research, 34(3), 415–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Houston, M. B., Hennig-Thurau, T., Spann, M., & Skiera, B. (2011). A theory of buzz for new products: How individual-level anticipation leads to intentional social action. Working paper.Google Scholar
  36. Jansen, C. (2005). The performance of German motion pictures, profits and subsidies: Some empirical evidence. Journal of Cultural Economics, 29(3), 191–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Karniouchina, E. V. (2011). Impact of star and movie buzz on motion picture distribution and box office revenue. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 28(1), 62–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. King, T. (2007). Does film criticism affect box office earnings? Evidence from movies released in the U.S. in 2003. Journal of Cultural Economics, 31(3), 171–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lampel, J., & Shamsie, J. (2000). Critical push: Strategies for creating momentum in the motion picture industry. Journal of Management, 26(2), 233–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lance, C. (1988). Residual centering, exploratory and confirmatory moderator analysis, and decomposition effects in path models containing interactions. Applied Psychological Measurement, 12(2), 163–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Levin, A., Levin, I., & Heath, E. (1997). Movie stars and authors as brand names: Measuring brand equity in experiential products. Advances in Consumer Research, 24(1), 175–181.Google Scholar
  42. Litman, B. (1983). Predicting success of theatrical movies: An empirical study. Journal of Popular Culture, 16(4), 159–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Litman, B. R., & Kohl, L. S. (1989). Predicting financial success of motion pictures: The ’80s experience. Journal of Media Economics, 2(2), 35–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Liu, Y. (2006). Word of mouth for movies: Its dynamics and impact on box office revenue. Journal of Marketing, 70(3), 74–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Meier, L. (2008). IRSE. Interactions in multiple linear regression with SPSS and Excel (Version 1.6) [Computer software and manual]. Retrieved 20.10.2010 from http://www.urenz.ch/irse.
  46. Moon, S., Bergey, P., & Iacobucci, D. (2010). Dynamic effects among movie ratings, movie revenues, and viewer satisfaction. Journal of Marketing, 74(1), 108–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Oxford Dictionary (2011). Art film (art film). Retrieved 18.5.2011 from http://oxforddictionaries.com/view/entry/m_en_us1223092#m_en_us1223092.
  48. Prag, J., & Casavant, J. (1994). An empirical study of the determinants of revenues and marketing expenditures in the motion picture industry. Journal of Cultural Economics, 18(3), 217–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Ravid, S. A. (1999). Information, blockbusters, and stars: A study of the film industry. Journal of Business, 72(4), 463–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Ravid, S. A., & Basuroy, S. (2004). Managerial objectives, the R-rating puzzle, and the production of violent films. Journal of Business, 77(2), 155–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Ravid, A., Wald, J., & Basuroy, S. (2006). Distributors and film critics: Does it take two to tango? Journal of Cultural Economics, 30(3), 201–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Reinstein, D., & Snyder, C. (2005). The influence of expert reviews on consumer demand for experience goods: A case study of movie critics. Journal of Industrial Economics, 53(1), 27–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Sawhney, M. S., & Eliashberg, J. (1996). A parsimonious model for forecasting gross box-office revenues of motion pictures. Marketing Science, 15(2), 113–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Sochay, S. (1994). Predicting the performance of motion pictures. Journal of Media Economics, 7(4), 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sood, S., & Drèze, X. (2006). Brand extensions of experiential goods: Movie sequel evaluations. Journal of Consumer Research, 33(3), 352–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Stradella Road (2010). Moviegoers 2010. Retrieved 2.9.2010 from http://www.stradellaroad.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/moviegoers-2010-f.pdf.
  57. Suárez-Vázquez, A. (2011). Critic power or star power? The influence of hallmarks of quality of motion pictures: an experimental approach. Journal of Cultural Economics, 35(2), 119–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Wallace, T., Seigerman, A., & Holbrook, M. (1993). The role of actors and actresses in the success of films: How much is a movie star worth? Journal of Cultural Economics, 17(1), 1–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. West, P. M., & Broniarczyk, S. M. (1998). Integrating multiple opinions: The role of aspiration level on consumer response to critic consensus. Journal of Consumer Research, 25(1), 38–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thorsten Hennig-Thurau
    • 1
    • 2
  • André Marchand
    • 1
  • Barbara Hiller
    • 1
  1. 1.Marketing Center MuensterUniversity of MuensterMuensterGermany
  2. 2.Faculty of Management, Cass Business SchoolCity University LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations