Debates and assumptions about motion picture performance: a meta-analysis

10 Jan 2018

Across the many studies of motion picture box office success, unresolved debates and untested assumptions about the contributing factors persist. Using an accessibility–diagnosticity framework and a meta-analysis of 634 effect sizes from 150 studies, the current article seeks to clarify the relationships of star brand equity and product reviews (from consumers and critics) with box office success. The popularity of stars (market and media appeals) exerts a stronger impact on box office success than their artistic recognition (as per award nominations and wins) at the moment of a movie’s release but not over its extended theatrical run. Whereas the impact of popular stars on box office success decreases over time, the influence of artistically recognized stars remains steady. The findings also identify a dual role for critics, who influence consumers’ movie choice and predict box office performance by merely reflecting moviegoers’ tastes. Finally, this study refutes the assumption that the impact of users’ reviews strengthens over time, relative to critics’ reviews.