Word of mouth has always played a strong role in movie revenues—if your friends hated a movie, you’d be less likely to see it (and vice versa), right? But that influence was limited back in the olden days: only people you really knew would share their moviegoing opinions with you. That word spread slowly, one person at a time. Crappy movies could do well at the box office for weeks before enough people had seen them and told their friends about it.
But these days it’s the cool thing to broadcast your experiences and opinions about everything in 140 characters or less—and if it’s a popular topic, jump on the bandwagon to reach thousands or millions. So will Twitter kill the video star—and what’s a moviemaking conglomerate to do about all these little people sharing their opinions?
Well, one thing they can do and are doing is to use Twitter—and some of those big little people on Twitter—movie stars. For example, that new Quentin Tarantino movie had a red carpet “Twitter meet-up” (apparently they aren’t quite versed enough in Twitter to use the term “Tweet up”) and stars such as Sarah Silverman and Tony Hawk posting positive tweets right after the premiere.
In the end, the Twitter phenomenon might be overrated. 88% of Movietickets.com users said that Twitter had no effect on their movie choices in a recent poll. Of course, that leaves out even more popular social sites that are getting all Twittery with real-time searchable status updates.
What do you think? Do crappy movies have something to fear from Twitter? Are box office bombs bottoming out faster than ever, and if so, is it because of social media?