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Popular Appeal versus Expert Judgments of Motion Pictures

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  • Holbrook, Morris B
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    Abstract

    Cultural commentators addressing the differences between high art and mere entertainment have suggested that the standards of popular appeal governing the tastes of ordinary consumers differ from the criteria for excellence employed by professional critics in rendering expert judgments. These concerns appear in discussions of the cultural hierarchy (distinguishing among levels of tastes) and in claims that commercialism tends to degrade cultural objects (by catering to tastes that represent the lowest common denominator). However, such attacks make assumptions that are generally left untested and that raise at least two key research questions: (RQ1) Do the determinants of popular appeal versus expert judgments suggest differing or common standards of evaluation for consumers versus critics? (RQ2) Do discrepant (shared) tastes produce a negative (positive) correlation between popular appeal and expert judgments? The present study addresses these research questions for the case of motion pictures. The findings suggest that, at least in the case of films, ordinary consumers and professional critics do emphasize different criteria in the formation of their tastes but that we have reason to question critiques based on the implicit assumption of a negative correlation between popular appeal and expert judgments. Copyright 1999 by the University of Chicago.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Consumer Research.

    Volume (Year): 26 (1999)
    Issue (Month): 2 (September)
    Pages: 144-55

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    Handle: RePEc:ucp:jconrs:v:26:y:1999:i:2:p:144-55

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    Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JCR/

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    1. > Industrial Organization > Industry studies > Sports, recreation and tourism > Arts
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    Cited by:
    1. Thorsten Hennig-Thurau & Mark Houston & Shrihari Sridhar, 2006. "Can good marketing carry a bad product? Evidence from the motion picture industry," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 205-219, July.
    2. Timothy King, 2007. "Does film criticism affect box office earnings? Evidence from movies released in the U.S. in 2003," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 171-186, September.
    3. Debenedetti, Stéphane & Larceneux, Fabrice, 2011. "Le "goût des autres" : de la divergence des goûts entre spécialistes et consommateurs ordinaires de films en France," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/8118, Paris Dauphine University.
    4. S. Ravid & John Wald & Suman Basuroy, 2006. "Distributors and film critics: does it take two to Tango?," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 201-218, December.
    5. Azuela Flores José Ignacio & Fernandez Blanco Víctor & Sanzo Pérez María José, 2012. "The effects of critics reviews on movie demand," Contaduría y Administración:Revista Internacional, Accounting and Management: International Journal, vol. 57(2), pages 201-222, abril-jun.
    6. Dobrescu, Loretti I. & Luca, Michael & Motta, Alberto, 2013. "What makes a critic tick? Connected authors and the determinants of book reviews," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 85-103.
    7. Darlene C. Chisolm & George Norman, 2011. "Spatial Competition and market Share: An Application to Motion Pictures," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0763, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    8. John Ashworth & Bruno Heyndels & Kristien Werck, 2010. "Expert judgements and the demand for novels in Flanders," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 197-218, August.
    9. Morris Holbrook, 2005. "The Role of Ordinary Evaluations in the Market for Popular Culture: Do Consumers Have “Good Taste”?," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 75-86, April.
    10. Zakaria Babutsidze, 2012. "If you love it I'll probably hate it : local interaction among consumers of information goods," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2012-24, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    11. Allègre Hadida, 2010. "Commercial success and artistic recognition of motion picture projects," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 45-80, February.
    12. Haan, Marco & Dijkstra, Gerhard & Dijkstra, Peter, 2003. "Expert judgment versus public opinion : evidence from the Eurovision Song Contest," CCSO Working Papers 200305, University of Groningen, CCSO Centre for Economic Research.
    13. Peter Boatwright & Suman Basuroy & Wagner Kamakura, 2007. "Reviewing the reviewers: The impact of individual film critics on box office performance," Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 401-425, December.
    14. Lona Fowdur & Vrinda Kadiyali & Jeffrey T. Prince, 2009. "Racial Bias in Expert Quality Assessment: A Study of Newspaper Movie Reviews," Working Papers 2010-13, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
    15. Gazley, Aaron & Clark, Gemma & Sinha, Ashish, 2011. "Understanding preferences for motion pictures," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 64(8), pages 854-861, August.
    16. Thorsten Hennig-Thurau & André Marchand & Barbara Hiller, 2012. "The relationship between reviewer judgments and motion picture success: re-analysis and extension," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 249-283, August.
    17. Morris Holbrook & Michela Addis, 2008. "Art versus commerce in the movie industry: a Two-Path Model of Motion-Picture Success," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 87-107, June.
    18. Elberse, Anita & Anand, Bharat, 2007. "The effectiveness of pre-release advertising for motion pictures: An empirical investigation using a simulated market," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 319-343, October.
    19. Randy Nelson & Robert Glotfelty, 2012. "Movie stars and box office revenues: an empirical analysis," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 141-166, May.
    20. Ana Suárez-Vázquez, 2011. "Critic power or star power? The influence of hallmarks of quality of motion pictures: an experimental approach," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 119-135, May.

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