There's lots of talk about the Twitter Effect and how it can make or break a movie. When it came to Bruno & GI Joe- thumbs down! In the case of Inglorious Basterds and District 9 -thumbs up! If Twitter has this effect on improving movie ticket sales, do we even need critics anymore?
According to a FilmMisery report, Bruno was still the champion of the weekend that it opened, but some original estimates suggested it would make $50 million opening weekend. Instead it fell short with slightly over $30 million... still impressive, but a $20 million lost on the top line.
Did Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat do extremely well because it was released before the Twitter Effect took hold in the country? While Bruno and Borat are entirely different characters, the scatological humor in both movies is seemingly similar.
However when you receive tweets like this one in massive numbers, its easy to see why Bruno's numbers started to slip on Saturday, as the Twitterati tweeted up a storm coming out of the movie on Friday evening.
While word of mouth could always make or break a movie in the past, it usually took days before consensus would start effecting ticket sales. Realizing the impact of the Twitter effect, The Weinstein Co. has used Twitter to its advantage with the release of Quentin Tarantino's World War II epic Inglourious Basterds.
The company packed a screening at San Diego's Comicon with people who won access via Twitter invites. It also staged "the first ever Red Carpet Twitter meet-up" during the movie's premiere at Mann's Chinese in Hollywood, generating celebrity tweets including Sarah Silverman's "just made me smile forever" and Tony Hawk's "another Tarantino classic."
These impressive Mashable stats shows the Twitterati spewing sweet tweets about this movie.
Matt AtchityBut was Twitter really the impetus behind the movie's success? According to Matt Atchity, editor in chief of News Corp.-owned review site Rotten Tomatoes, the answer is "no." He thinks Twitter's influence is over-hyped and overrated. In a recent Forbes interview, Atchity is quoted as saying:
- "It's an interesting word of mouth, but I think only for a certain part of the audience. For the younger, more connected audience that may be true but for older audiences, I don't know...Do I think Twitter is affecting my cousins in Kansas City and what they see? If it's a big enough movie, they are going to see it."
Back in February, Mashable's CEO Pete Cashmore, whose Twitter postings more than 52,000 people follow, concluded his tweet mentioning that a blog post on "how to use Twitter to find your next job" took that site down with a heightened influx of traffic. He suggested calling the phenomenon the Mashable Effect. However, when one really analyzes this, what Cashmore is referring to is not the Mashable Effect at all...it's the Twitter Effect.
When all is said and done, the Twittersphere is like a large echo chamber, where meaningful tweetsRoger Ebert and Leonard Maltin resonate and amp up the noise level to a degree where people begin to 'buy in' to the sentiment being repeatedly expressed. In the case of a movie making it on Twitter, its the 'wisdom of crowds' where the majority ends up ruling. So no more Roger Ebert or Leonard Maltin, the people have spoken...or should I say tweeted. And the democratic consensus of thumbs up or thumbs down is NOW being critiqued in real-time. See you at the movies!