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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

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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