Distributors and film critics: does it take two to Tango?
Previous literature has documented the impact of critics on audience choices of movies. We investigate three issues regarding professional critics in the motion picture industry. First we document whether and to what extent critics and their recommendations exhibit a statistical bias toward specific studios. We show that reviews by a number of critics are significantly affected by the film distributor’s identity. A second question is whether audiences are able to distinguish between biased and unbiased critics. We cannot support the view that audiences put less weight on the views of biased critics; in fact, they may listen to them more. Third, we try to characterize critics who are more prone to bias. Surprisingly, but in accord with reputation models, we find that more reputable critics may be more biased; in particular, critics based in L.A. tend to significantly prefer specific studios. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006
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