question of the day: Do you tweet your reactions to movies?

I’ve reminded readers here more than once lately that if you want to get my instant first reaction to a movie, you should follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook, because the first thing I do when I leave a screening is text my 140 characters of mini review goodness. (Those texts also go to my MySpace, but I cannot honestly recommend using that service, cuz it, you know, sucks.)

Seems I’m not the only one using social networking to broadcast my cinema feedback: everyone’s doing it, and doing it so much that Hollywood is quaking in its boots:

Social Networking Making Friday The Only Day That Counts
Twitter, Facebook have changed what ‘word-of-mouth’ really means.

That’s the pants-wetting headline from The Wrap last week. The article opens:

If the world seems to turn faster with each passing month, then don’t be surprised that the weekend box office has now shrunk to a single day: Friday.

The rise of social networking, studio executives say, is driving a near-instantaneous word of mouth effect that is doing much to hyper-charge Hollywood’s multi-million-dollar marketing efforts…or to defeat them a lot faster than usual.

Of course, immediately following that we learn this:

A movie like “Up,” for example, had Disney executives surprised at its opening weekend success, which outstripped projections and brought in $68 million domestically.

Studio tracking did not indicate that the movie would have strong appeal to adults without children, one executive said, but by Saturday exhibitors were noting that that exact demographic was going to the movie.

which indicates that the studios are even more clueless than we though. A drunk monkey could have predicted, based on the previous performance of Pixar films, that Up was going to have wide appeal.

Still, it does appear that the Twitter threat is real:

“If you’re tweeting and people are catching that live and they’re out at drinks and were planning on seeing the movie tomorrow — that hurts,” said Gordon Paddison, a marketing consultant who specializes in technological change.

The speed of Twitter “has a direct effect on marketing velocity changes, which is not something people used to put in the mix,” he continued. “Twitter is real time. It’s like waves cresting on the shore. You need to be mindful of how word of mouth breaks, and as it starts to break, to be able to shape it, respond to it, or take advantage of it.”

The net effect, some studio executives say, is that a marketing spend that used to take a movie through the weekend now only really takes a studio through Friday evening, east coast time.

“If your movie is good, and has fantastic word of mouth, your formulas are obsolete,” said Cook. “If your movie is bad, it’s instantaneous. You know it on Friday.”

(But it’s only old people using Twitter, for tweeting about movies or anything else, according to a 15-year-old kid on a summer internship at Morgan Stanley in London.)

Are you contributing to scaring Hollywood to death? Do you tweet your reactions to movies?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me.)

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Wed, Jul 15, 2009 4:27pm

I don’t use Twitter and don’t have any aspiration to use it. But then I was never a big texter either, only did it every now and then as needed.

Wed, Jul 15, 2009 4:38pm

The way I see it, this is a good thing. From now on, Hollywood can no longer rely on massive promotion campaigns to make it’s movies sucessfull. Now movies – get this – actually have to be good!!!

Ryan H
Ryan H
Wed, Jul 15, 2009 5:15pm

No and I don’t follow you (or anyone other writers I follow) on twitter. That’s why I come to your webpage. I love your reviews and insights but I have better things to do than chase writers around a half dozen sites just to make sure I’m not missing anything.

If you want your regular readers to see your twitters then embed them on your site. If they’re not worth you making a small layout tweak for then I’m not sure why they are worth my time to track down.

Wed, Jul 15, 2009 7:04pm

Ryan H., what you say sounds hostile (in context of our MaryAnn), but I agree with it 100%. Everywhere you look are new distractions-cum-time wasters, and it wasn’t like we were sitting here twiddling our thumbs, hoping somebody bring us something new to do. I could care less about Twittering. I don’t want to spend my life on the phone. I don’t need 500 TV channels…und so weiter.

MaryAnn, there must be a clear division between people who can’t live without Twitter et al, and…well, people like me and Ryan H. Left brain/right brain? Bottle fed/breast fed? Dunno.

stephanie b
stephanie b
Wed, Jul 15, 2009 8:36pm

Wow. Some hostile Twitter reactions ’round here. It’s actually a surprisingly useful networking tool that’s more than just a time waster or an outlet for navel gazing. (It’s those things too, of course.)

I have noticed recently how valuable Twitter is in gauging people’s reactions to big theatrical releases. New releases pop up as a trending topic very quickly, so it only takes a click to see real-time comments about a movie.

Though the general public’s response won’t affect whether or not I’ll see particular films, I have taken advantage of its utility in measuring how people were liking films like Star Trek (hoping they liked it) and Year One (hoping they hated it). The reactions to The Watchmen were also pretty entertaining.

Since I don’t see movies when they’re “new” (I use Netflix and the dollar theater), I don’t tend to share my reactions on my Twitter feed. But I recently made some scathing comments about Tootsie, so watch out for the effects of those, Dustin Hoffman. Any day now.

Wed, Jul 15, 2009 8:39pm

Dang all you Negative Nancies.

In any case, I only twitter my reactions if I feel strongly about the movie either way. If I really really hated it (which is rare since I’m quite picky about my movies) or if I really loved it.

And MaryAnn, love your tweets.

Wed, Jul 15, 2009 8:47pm

Ah, don’t be so hard on Ryan H. I understand the desire to avoid things that one considers time-wasters. And I’m not sure that anyone’s actually “missing” anything by not following me on Twitter or Facebook… except maybe the people who want to know my instant reaction to a movie (and some people *have* been asking, clearly unable to wait for my review or even for a film to show up in the “coming soon” listing in the righthand column).

I’m thinking about a site redesign to streamline things, and there may be a way to work in a Twitter widget when that happens.

I’m also thinking, FYI, about a small mobile version of the site, where you can see on your phone or iPod at least what color light I’ve given to a film.

MaryAnn, there must be a clear division between people who can’t live without Twitter et al, and…well, people like me and Ryan H. Left brain/right brain? Bottle fed/breast fed? Dunno.

Oh, I dunno about that. I didn’t get Twitter at all, thought it was stupid… until I started to use it. I’m nowhere near a power user or anything, but it certainly has brought me traffic that I wasn’t getting before.

stephanie b
stephanie b
Wed, Jul 15, 2009 9:04pm

And MaryAnn, love your tweets.

Why does it feel like that remark should be followed by a sleazy wink?

Wed, Jul 15, 2009 10:15pm

Ooh! A mobile version would be fantastic. Maybe times I tried to look something up on your site while AFK on my cell phone, but usually I have to give up in defeat.