Analysis Of The Factors Of Financial Success Of A Comedy Or Romance Film


In the analysis of a film’s economic success, the reviews of the critics are to be taken in consideration. They can play two different roles: predictors, when their opinion doesn’t affect audience’s decisions, and influencers, if their judgement persuades them different wise. Basuroy, Chatterjee, & Ravid in 2003 ran a study where they evaluated the critics direct relation to box office performance. The results showed that in a period of 8 weeks, both empathic and pessimistic reviews were meaningfully associated with ticket’s sell revenue, when critics did both parts of predicting and influencing the film’s consummation. This suggests that production houses should tend to invite critics to early screening of the film (before its premiere) to increase audience appeal and increase returns, only if they suspect a positive opinion whereas if they foresee a negative one, producers should either invite the nice critics or abstain from making the early screening at all.

The test also demonstrated that pessimistic critiques are more harmful to box office performance that what cheerful opinion help in the first weeks of a movie release. In other words, the effects are not balanced out which implies that producers should invest more of the assigned budget in controlling the spread of negative reviews instead of promoting positive ones. For example, Titanic’s 89% positive review in Rotten Tomatoes might not have contributed to it as much as the negative critique (5. 6/10 in IMDb) influenced comedy film Fist Fight’s to collect only $41 million on a $22 million budget (for a movie to have substantial profit must at least triplicate the initial budget). The critics were both predictors and influencers for its outcome. However, the study also showed that in some cases the critique might affect only the opening weeks gross but not the total amount recollected, (the moment until word of mouth opinion enters the equation). This can explain why movies like love -tragedy Me before you, which the Chicago Tribune tagged as bad romance and Variety a melodrama with soft-rock ballads where its beating heart should be (cited from Paul, 2016) only made $18 million in the premiere week but ended up grossing to $208 million worldwide.

Star Buzz

Another matter to evaluate in the financial success of a Comedy or Romance film, is the participation or not of famous actors in them. In 2011, V. Karniouchina published a study where star buzz and movie buzz impact in the box office revenue were put to the test. Buzz is a term used in the film industry to refer to the increase of the marketing labor by the presence of third parties either passively of actively.

The resulted showed that the impact famous actors have on revenue is due to the generation of buzz they make in the audience during the premiere weeks of the film, enhancing the initial sells of tickets. The star buzz is created mostly with the sex appeal and bankability (actors with previous successful projects) in the opening weeks and lastly with the award-winning factor, that increases the buzz in the later weeks of screening. For example, when Leonardo DiCaprio starred in Romeo plus Juliet, he had had little parts in different projects, he wasn’t a well-known actor (little bankability), however he was young and attractive as well as his co star Claire Danes (high sex appeal). The film made around $200 million U. S. and World Wide on a small budget of $14. 5 million. However, a year later, having become more known (higher bankability), he was casted in the iconic Titanic, which had of the biggest revenue of all times with a $2. 2 billion worldwide. This suggests that star power contributed to the its massive sell. The films were clearly profitable.

On another side, Robin Williams’ worst grossing comedies were before he became a celebrated name, like Popeye or The World According to Garp (low bankability), whose collected amount were very close to their budget number, but after he made his jump with Good Morning Vietnam, which grossed at $123 million with only $13 million of budget, his filmography (in the Comedy genre) has brought financial revenues with exquisite examples like Mrs. Doubtfire and The Birdcage (award winning factor).

Movie Buzz

Karniouchina’s study also analyzed movie buzz participation (buzz conceived for the movie itself) in the final box office revenue and took two factors in consideration: valence and volume. The findings indicated that when audience showed a preference for a film (valence), it was positively and directly related to the quantity of movie buzz (volume). It also demonstrated that an augmentation of the buzz was more present in movies that had a high budget for publicity and for sequel films.

For example, the big comedy franchise of American Pie gain movie buzz each time a new one came out (volume) grossing in $1, 301 million (8 movies in total). In the Romance genre can be seen in movie adaptation of books that already had a stablished audience (valence) like Dear John or Me before you, both profitable films. In addition, the WOM (worth of mouth) also enriches the movie buzz and ultimately improve the box office revenue. The most-lasting and effective period of WOM is the prerelease weeks where audience tend to have high expectations before a film premiere but then are more critical in the initial week. This suggests that people’s comments are based in opinions, rather than actual experience, before the movie comes out, which can turn out to be either positively or negatively for the final earnings.

18 May 2020
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