BOSTON, Dec. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A study conducted as part of a School of Communication research course at Emerson College examined the effects of buzz on a movie's performance. Specifically, the study found consistent trends among high and low performers, resulting in a 30 percent average weekly revenue difference in their opening weeks.
The project compared the performance of films that were nominated for an Academy Award as Best Picture with those that were nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award as Worst Picture over the 20-year period from 1996-2015. This resulted in a sample size of over 200 movies. Since research has shown that there is no formula to guarantee a predictable return on investment for a movie and that a film's success is mostly determined by an information cascade, the study used revenue as a proxy for word-of-mouth and compared the percentage change in weekend box office revenue for these movies over their initial four weeks.
The trends of the high and low performers are illustrated in Exhibit 1. That is, the average percentage change for Oscar nominees, referenced as high performers, was -24 percent, -26 percent, -25 percent and -21 percent over the first four weeks. By comparison, the average percentage change for Razzie nominees, referenced as low performers, was -54 percent, -56 percent, -53 percent and -54 percent. Again, the average percentage change between Oscar nominees and Razzie nominees over this time period was -30 percent.
In addition, because the research period encompassed the advent of social media, the study also researched whether there was a difference in these results between the pre- and post-social media eras. As is evident in Exhibit 2, there was no significant difference. That is, the average percentage change between Oscar nominees and Razzie nominees in the pre-social media period was 33 percent, while the average percentage change between Oscar nominees and Razzie nominees in the post-social media period was 27 percent.
Many find this outcome counterintuitive but research has found that only 7 percent of word-of-mouth occurs online. Therefore, these results are consistent with this finding.
"This study sheds light on the extent to which word-of-mouth contributes to the success of Hollywood movies," said Owen Eagan, an Executive in Residence in the Department of Communication Studies. "It also confirms the if-you-build-it-they-will-come approach to filmmaking."
To request a copy of the study, please email email@example.com.
Contact: Owen Eagan
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SOURCE Emerson College Department of Communication Studies