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Life or Death by the 140 Character Movie Review

August 24th, 2009

It can make you or break you.  Bruno vs Inglorious Basterds – a shared review medium, a vastly different effect. According to AdWeek, Inglorious Basterds ‘rode a crest of tweeting goodwill‘ to pull in more than $37M on it’s opening weekend.  With Tarantino’s new offering we see how the micro-blogging service can change the perception of the ‘mainstream’ audience. Sure – there will always be die hard Quentin Tarantino fans that go see every movie that he makes and give it an unwavering thumbs up, despite the quality.  However, when they amplify that opinion through a service like Twitter they are touching all sorts of people – especially friends in their network that may never have considered going to see the movie in question. AdWeek goes on to say “the movie actually held its ground and even picked up steam as the weekend went on, as even Saturday Twitterers enthusiastically tweeted and re-tweeted their approval.

This is quite the opposite effect Twitter traffic had on Bruno when it first opened.  From Mashable:

According to box office results, Brüno, albeit the number one grossing movie at the box office pulling in $30.4 million, saw almost a 40% drop in ticket sales from Friday to Saturday, and lost even more steam going into Sunday.

Why do we see this effect?  Time sums it up well in this comment:  ”Chalk that up to word-of-mouth, viral and virulent. “If you’re tweeting,” marketing consultant Gordon Paddison told Sharon Waxman of the Wrap, “and people are catching that live and they’re out at drinks and were planning on seeing the movie tomorrow — that hurts.

What if Siskel and Ebert had Twitter to compete with when they got started reviewing movies? Their success may not have been what it was…

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