Social Media More Important to Film Industry Than Advertising, Says Science

Today marks the beginning of summer (or, as I like to call it, the Devil’s Season) and with it comes two inevitabilities: prolonged periods of excruciating heat and a veritable cornucopia of blockbuster movies. As their release dates grow ever closer, advertisements for upcoming films like The Amazing Spiderman and The Dark Knight Rises have been popping up more and more frequently, but a group of Japanese scientists have recently developed a theory in which they state advertising may have less to do with the success of a movie than we think.

The team (led by Professor Akira Ishii at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Physics at Tottori University in Tokyo) collected the revenue data from 25 Hollywood movies that were released in Japan over the past few summers – movies like Avatar and The Da Vinci Code – and compared it to what was spent on advertising. They found no direct correlation between the two, often actually citing that movies with larger promotional budgets did worse in theatres (this year’s Battleship and John Carter of Mars come to mind) but, interestingly enough, found that hype generated by social media always translated into bigger bucks at the box office.

While the theory (which is being published in this month’s New Physics Journal) was not designed to predict the success of films, Professor Ishii claims it should be applicable in almost any market. I suppose I should take comfort in knowing that, if this whole Advertising thing doesn’t work out, I can always just turn this into a movie blog. If you’re reading this, Mr. Nolan, I’m a huge fan of your work and more than willing to sell out.

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