Is the number of reviews of a movie more predictive of its box office than the content of the reviews?

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Creativity in movies is a topic of growing interest in both the psychological and the marketing literature. Much research has been invested into determining the impact of cinematic quality on film success and finding successful predictors of cinematic creativity. For these reasons, research into the way creativity is measured in film is of considerable importance. This study examines a variety of measures of cinematic quality (movie ratings from a variety of sources) and determines the degree of agreement among different types of measures, the predictive value of these measures, and the effect of the timing of these measures on their predictive value. Results indicate that there is a high degree of agreement among types of movie ratings, that reviews through release day tend to be marginally higher than those that appear later, and that reviews are more highly correlated with later box office success (gross) than with early box office success. A surprising result of this study was that the number of ratings a movie received was a slightly better predictor of box office success than the actual movie ratings. Possible explanations for and implications of these results are discussed.

Source: “The criterion problem and creativity in film: Psychometric characteristics of various measures.” from Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts

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