Moderate influence from film critics can have a significant impact on revenue, study finds


BOSTON, October 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — A new study conducted as part of a research course at the School of Communication in Emerson College found that the moderate influence of film critics on films could have a significant impact on box office earnings. This was due to the difference in revenue generated by films with positive and negative reviews.

While an earlier study by Emerson found that movie reviews have a moderate influence on movie scores for large-scale releases, the difference in earnings between movies with negative and positive reviews on weekends d opening was on average $23 million. The study also revealed an income difference of $83 million for total gross domestic revenue.

The sample included all large-scale releases and limited releases from 2015 to 2017, which consisted of 1,100 films using data from The Numbers and reviews from Rotten Tomatoes critics. The previous study used Pearson’s correlation analysis to compare Rotten Tomatoes scores with a film’s first weekend gross based on revenue per theater and its total national gross. This study found that opening weekend results had a moderate correlation of 0.33 with Rotten Tomatoes scores for broad releases and 0.16 for limited releases. When compared to total national gross revenue, the research found a correlation of 0.37 for wide spreads and 0.14 for narrow spreads.

In both analyses, negative reviews had more impact than positive reviews based on films with a rating of less than 80% and those with a rating of 80% or more. Negative reviews for the first weekend had a correlation of 0.26 for broad releases and 0.21 for limited releases. Positive reviews only had a correlation of 0.03 for extended versions and 0.02 for limited versions, but these results were not statistically significant. When analyzing total domestic gross revenue, negative reviews had a correlation of 0.29 for wide spreads and 0.15 for narrow spreads. Positive reviews had a correlation of 0.12 for broad releases and 0.03 for limited releases but, like the first weekend results, these results were also not statistically significant.

Despite this modest influence, a box office revenue t-test was used to determine the difference between the sample means of negative and positive reviews, and whether they were statistically significant. Although both wide rejects and limited rejects were analyzed, only the sample means of the wide rejects were found to have a statistically significant difference. Again, these values ​​were an average of $23 million for opening weekend receipts and $83 million for total domestic gross revenue with films receiving positive reviews making statistically more money than films receiving negative reviews.

“Our initial study demonstrated the influence of a negativity bias in reviewer reviews,” said Owen Eagan, Executive in Residence at the Department of Communication Studies. “This is not surprising in light of loss aversion theory which states that when people are faced with risk, they are more likely to avoid losses than seek gains.”

He added: “However, this study helps shed more light on this topic by quantifying this influence. For example, our analysis of large-scale posts found that negative reviews explain about 7% and 9% of weekend variability. openness and total gross domestic income based on the r-squared figures. This can translate to millions of dollars given their average differences in $23 million and $83 million between negative and positive reviews during these times.”

To request a copy of the study, please contact Owen Eagan at [email protected].

Owen Eagan

THE SOURCE Emerson College


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