This article on how Rotten Tomatoes is potentially affecting the box office haul of tent-pole film releases is fascinating to me not just a cineaste, but also because it underlines the power that online reviews now have on so many consumer decisions. Within this article, lots of consideration is given to the potential impact of poor online reviews of recent DC movies such as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
As this piece points out, 36% of the time consumers make a decision to see a film based on the quality of its online reviews. But there are now review sites for just about any purchase that a consumer may make, whether its their choice of restaurant, holiday, accommodation or even employer. Every purchase that young people make will typically be informed by some kind of online due diligence.
I think in the instance of movies, the roles of reviews may be more nuanced - there are some tent-pole releases which consumers will attend to see no matter what. Despite a lot of negative pre-publicity the forthcoming Justice League movie has received, Darkseid himself couldn't stop me seeing it (please excuse the esoteric geek reference). However, for Justice League to make $1bn+ rather than *just* hundreds of millions of dollars, it will need to cross-over to consumers who don't know their Batman's from their Blue Beetle's. And to do that, the film will need seriously good word of mouth and a good critical response following its release.
More widely, lots of businesses do not carry a loyal "hardcore" of consumers who will show up, no mater what the quality of the product being served up. They need to carefully cultivate and manage their online reputation, so that the more casual consumer may not be put off a potential purchase by a poor review. And by doing this, brands may have the opportunity to soar, just like Superman.
“The power of Rotten Tomatoes and fast-breaking word of mouth will only get stronger. Many Millennials and even Gen Xers now vet every single purchase through the internet, whether it’s restaurants, video games, make-up, consumer electronics, or movies. As they get older and comprise an even larger share of total moviegoers, this behavior is unlikely to change.”