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The relationship between reviewer judgments and motion picture success: re-analysis and extension


  • Thorsten Hennig-Thurau


  • André Marchand


  • Barbara Hiller



The relationship between the judgments of professional reviewers and the economic success of cultural products, such as motion pictures, has been the topic of controversial debates involving both scholars and industry experts. This study builds on previous research that distinguishes an “influencer effect” of reviews from a “predictor effect.” By empirically separating consumers’ and reviewers’ perceptions of movie quality through an auxiliary regression approach (and thus effectively controls for consumers’ quality perceptions), this study advances the discussion by investigating whether and how isolated reviewer quality perceptions are associated with box office results. The authors empirically test a non-linear effect of reviewers’ quality perceptions on box office returns, including a comprehensive investigation of the moderating forces of this relationship, using regression and simple slope analyses. Data from all 1,370 narrative films released in the United States between 1998 and 2006 reveal that though the short-term box office generally is not influenced by isolated reviewer quality perceptions, a non-linear relationship exists between reviews and long-term box office returns, such that films rated highly by reviewers are more strongly influenced than those that are not. In terms of moderators, the authors find evidence for several arthouse and mainstream characteristics to moderate the relationship between isolated reviewer quality perceptions and box office results. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Suggested Citation

  • 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;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 36(3), pages 249-283, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jculte:v:36:y:2012:i:3:p:249-283
    DOI: 10.1007/s10824-012-9172-8

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    1. repec:eee:ijrema:v:33:y:2016:i:1:p:140-154 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:bla:coecpo:v:35:y:2017:i:2:p:269-277 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:ijrema:v:33:y:2016:i:2:p:357-374 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:ijrema:v:33:y:2016:i:2:p:375-391 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:ijrema:v:34:y:2017:i:2:p:336-354 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:eee:ijrema:v:34:y:2017:i:2:p:442-461 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Frederick Derrick & Nancy Williams & Charles Scott, 2014. "A two-stage proxy variable approach to estimating movie box office receipts," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 38(2), pages 173-189, May.

    More about this item


    Motion pictures; Professional movie reviews; Experience goods; Creative products; Box office; Mainstream; Art house; Moderation; L82; M31;

    JEL classification:

    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
    • M31 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Marketing


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