Hollywood dumps critics for (surprisingly viable) Twitter 'experts'

This weekend The Hangover Part Two is expected to be the first Hollywood comedy to take $100 million on its opening weekend.

The producers of the film seem surprisingly confident about it, especially in the face of tepid reviews from the world’s critics. But the age of the critic has been dead for many years as potential film-goers prefer to look to their peers for the quality of a movie.

The process that began with the decline in newspaper readership has been accelerated by the rise and rise of social networks and means that there are no need for opening-weekend nerves any longer… Twitter already knows whether a film will be successful or not.

5-4-3-2-1 and… action! Here come the Twitter ‘experts’ popping up like horny meerkats happy to suck at the teat of the swollen Hollywood cow who claim they can measure the buzz about a film. Annoyingly, they probably can.

Jonathan Taplin is the director of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at UCL and he uses IBM software to measure ‘tweet volume’ to gauge popular opinion. In this case he has analysed 1.5 million Tweets and believes the positive sentiment about this movie will translate into Box Office gold.

Shirley anybody can say that, right? The Hangover was such a freak hit that a sequel had to be made and even if the film was crap, people would still go. Mmm, maybe but it is interesting that Taplin used to be a producer himself, and a very good one. Anybody that produced the genius of Mean Streets and The Last Waltz must know the movie business.

While the Annenberg Innovation Lab isn’t the only company that monitors social behaviour and the measurements behind such subjective data are liable to remain subjective for sometime, this is possibly the future. Nobody yet really knows who the influencers actually are, but they are certainly out there.

In the long distant past of the 1980s New York Times critic Frank Rich could kill a movie before it opened, but today’s Frank Rich probably doesn’t write for a newspaper at all.

He or she is big on Twitter and Hollywood with the help of companies such as the Annenberg Innovation Lab is already doing its best to find out who it is. Whether they will find them any time soon, rather like The Hangover Part Two, remains to be seen.

Monty (644 Posts)

Monty Munford has more than 15 years' experience in mobile, digital media, web and journalism. He is the founder of Mob76, a company that helps tech companies raise money and exit. He speaks regularly at global media events with a focus on Africa, writes a weekly column for The Telegraph, is a regular contributor to The Economist, Wired, Mashable and speaks regularly on the BBC World Service.


This entry was posted in Mob76 Outlook and tagged , , , , by Monty. Bookmark the permalink.

About Monty

Monty Munford has more than 15 years' experience in mobile, digital media, web and journalism. He is the founder of Mob76, a company that helps tech companies raise money and exit. He speaks regularly at global media events with a focus on Africa, writes a weekly column for The Telegraph, is a regular contributor to The Economist, Wired, Mashable and speaks regularly on the BBC World Service.