Journal of Cultural Economics

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 43–63 | Cite as

The impact of film reviews on the box office performance of art house versus mainstream motion pictures

  • Gerda Gemser
  • Martine Van Oostrum
  • Mark A. A. M. Leenders
Original Article

Abstract

Critics and their reviews can play an important role in consumer decision making in general, and film choice in particular. In this study, we propose that consumers of art house movies are being led by film reviews when making a film choice (influence effect), whereas consumers of mainstream movies are hypothesized to rely mainly on other sources of information. Thus, in the latter case the review does not influence the moviegoer, but may still be a reflection of the ultimate success of the movie (predictor effect). Using the Dutch film industry as our empirical setting, we study the effects of reviews on the opening weekend and on the cumulative box office revenue. Our research shows that the number and size of film reviews in Dutch newspapers directly influence the behavior of the art-movie-going public in their film choice. The number and size of film reviews of mainstream movies, on the other hand, only predict movie performance.

Keywords

Dutch art house movies Dutch mainstream movies Film critics Film performance 

References

  1. Albert, S. (1998). Movie stars and the distribution of financially successful films in the motion picture industry. Journal of Cultural Economics, 22(4), 249–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Austin, B. A. (1984). Portrait of an Art Film audience. Journal of Communication, 34(1), 74–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bagella, M., & Becchetti, L. (1999). The determinants of motion picture box office performance: Evidence from movies produced in Italy. Journal of Cultural Economics, 23, 237–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Basuroy, S., Chatterjee, S., & Ravid, S. A. (2003). How critical are critical reviews? The box office effects of film critics, star power, and budgets. Journal of Marketing, 67, 103–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51(6), 1173–1182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baumann, S. (2002). Marketing, cultural hierarchy, and the relevance of critics: Film in the United States, 1935–1980. Poetics, 30(4), 243–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bordwell, D., & Thompson, K. (2001). Film art, an introduction. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  8. Borsboom, E. (2001). NFC Bioscoopmonitor 1998–2002. Amsterdam: TNS NIPO.Google Scholar
  9. Brown, T. (1978). Reviewers on reviewing. Journalism Quarterly, 55(1), 32–38.Google Scholar
  10. Cameron, S. (1995). On the role of critics in the culture industry. Journal of Cultural Economics, 19, 321–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. DeVany, A., & Walls, W. D. (1999). Uncertainty in the movie industry: Does star power reduce the terror of the box office? Journal of Cultural Economics, 23, 285–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Durie, J., & Pham, A. (2002), Selected strategies for success, How Dutch film professionals perceive their industry and general consumer habits towards national films, Dutch film fund.Google Scholar
  13. 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
  14. Eliashberg, J., & Shugan, S. M. (1997). Film critics: Influencers or predictors? Journal of Marketing, 61, 68–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. European Film Academy. (1997). Don’t shoot the critic, pleading for a vanishing profession. Report of a workshop on film critics, Berlin.Google Scholar
  16. Geer, C. T. (1998). Coming soon: An art theater near you. Forbes, July 6th.Google Scholar
  17. 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, 6 (available at: www.amsreview.org/articles/henning06-2001/pdf).Google Scholar
  18. Hirsch, P. M. (1972). Processing fads and fashions: An organizational set analysis of cultural industry systems. American Journal of Sociology, 77(4), 639–659.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hirschman, E. C., & Pieros, A. (1985). Relationships among indicators of success in broadway plays and motion pictures. Journal of Cultural Economics, 9, 35–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 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
  21. Litman, B. R., & Ahn, H. (1998). Predicting Financial Success of Motion Pictures. In: B. R. Litman (Ed.), The motion picture mega-industry. Allyn and Bacon, Needham Heights: MA.Google Scholar
  22. Litman Barry, R., & Kohl, L. S. (1989). Predicting financial success of motion pictures: The 80s experience. The Journal of Media Economics, 2, 35–50.Google Scholar
  23. Lovell, G. (1997). Movies and manipulations, how studios punish critics. Columbia Journalism Review, January/February.Google Scholar
  24. Miller, L. J. (1995) The Making of an ‘Independent Identity’ in the Book Trade. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.Google Scholar
  25. Peterson, R. A., & Berger, D. G. (1975). Cycles in cultural production: The case of popular music. American Sociological Review, 40, 158–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ravid, A. S. (1999). Information, blockbusters, and stars: A study of the film industry. Journal of Business, 72(4), 463–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Reddy, S. K., Swaminathan, V., & Motley, C. M. (1998). Exploring the determinants of broadway show success. Journal of Marketing Research, 35, 370–783.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Reinstein, D. A., & Snyder, C. M. (2005). The influence of expert reviews on consumer demand for experience goods: A case study of movie critics. The Journal of Industrial Economics, LIII(1), 27–51.Google Scholar
  29. Shrum, W. (1991). Critics and publics: Cultural mediation in highbrow and popular performing arts. American Journal of Sociology, 97(2), 347–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sochay, S. (1994). Predicting the performance of motion pictures. The Journal of Media Economics, 7(4), 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Verdaasdonk, H. (1987). Effects of acquired readership and reviewers’ attention on the sales of new literary works. Poetics, 16, 237–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Wallace, W. T., Seigerman, A., & Holbrook, M. B. (1993). The role of actors and actresses in the success of films. Journal of Cultural Economics, 17, 1–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wijnberg, N. M., & Gemser, G. (2000). Adding value to innovation: Impressionism and the transformation of the selection system in visual arts. Organization Science, 11(3), 323–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wyatt, J. (1991). High concept, product differentiation, and the contemporary U.S. film industry. In: B. Austin (Ed.), Current research in film: Audiences, economics and law (Vol. 5) (pp. 86–105). NJ: Ablex, Norwood.Google Scholar
  35. Wyatt, R. O., & Badger, D. P. (1990). Effects of information and evaluation in film criticism. Journalism Quarterly, 67(2), 359–368.Google Scholar
  36. Zuckerman, E. W., & Kim, T. Y. (2003). The critical trade-off: Identity assignment and box office succes in the feature film industry. Industrial and Corporate Change, 12(1), 27–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Zufryden, F. (2000). New film website promotion and box-office performance. Journal of Advertising Research, 40(1/2), 55–64.Google Scholar
  38. Zufryden, F. S. (1996). Linking advertising to box office performance of new film releases: A marketing planning model. Journal of Advertising Research, July–August, 29–41.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerda Gemser
    • 1
  • Martine Van Oostrum
    • 1
  • Mark A. A. M. Leenders
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Strategy and EntrepreneurshipUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Communication Studies, Amsterdam School of Communications ResearchUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations