Become a Hollywood Influencer this Holiday (and Oscar) season… Tweet!

Don’t miss your chance to “Vote” for the Movies you Love

Riding positive Twitter-Chatter, The Coen Brothers' True Grit remake has exceeded box office expectations.

The 6 percent of Americans who actively participate in the Twitter community exert a much greater cultural influence than those who don’t… at least in Hollywood. [1] While old-fashioned movie reviewer endorsements and word-of-mouth buzz continue to influence moviegoer choices, the “Twitter Effect” has become one of the most watched indicators in the industry.

Our recent conversations with marketing and distribution insiders at major production companies have reinforced this reality.  One confided, “While it is difficult to quantify the exact extent of the ‘Twitter Effect,’ you cannot believe the amount of time and energy we put into tracking and attempting to influence social media, especially Twitter.”

Another admitted that studio executives openly lament that Twitter has killed Hollywood’s tradition of hyping a bad movie (such as The Tourist) into a solid box office.  A great marketing campaign might be able to get an opening night crowd, but once those early moviegoers start tweeting their friends (normally before the final credits roll) there is no place to hide. “By noon on Friday, we can normally project the final weekend box office numbers of any film using no other tracking tool than ‘Twitter-Chatter’ alone.”

For instance, last year’s expected Christmas box office hit Little Fockers made a fortune in its first few days in the theatre. With an established series audience and a substantial marketing campaign Fockers 3 seemed like a “can’t miss” hit. However, negative Twitter-Chatter immediately began to drag it down in the box office.

Conversely, the Coen Brothers’ True Grit remake started much more slowly, but eventually beat Little Fockers at the box office in no small part due to excellent Twitter Chatter. Obviously, it not BECAUSE of Twitter, but because True Grit is a MUCH BETTER MOVIE and the 6% of Americans on Twitter got that message out.

The King’s Speech provides an even more dramatic example of holiday season Twitter power.  With a measely $355,450 opening weekend, Speech looked doomed to failure. However, the Twitter, Facebook, and critical buzz was so strong, the Weinstein Company widened distribution to 700 screens on Christmas Day and to over 1,500 screens on January 14, 2011. King’s Speech never quite caught Fockers or Grit at the box office, but it did win a little statue they like to call the Oscar. So…

The message to Hollywood? Make good movies or the 6% of Americans on Twitter will make you pay.

The message to moviegoers? If you want to influence Hollywood… TWEET!


[1] According to the Pew Internet and American Life Study, 8% of online Americans have Twitter accounts, but only 60% of those actually use them extensively, making 6% a generous estimate of “active users.” Percentages for 18 to 29 year olds are nearly double that of both older and younger (teenage) populations. 

5 Replies to “Become a Hollywood Influencer this Holiday (and Oscar) season… Tweet!”

  1. Karen via Facebook

    That's kind of sad. Now they're going to base future greenlight decisions on an even smaller percentage of the general public. (grouses middle America from our perch behind the times)

  2. Great article and I can see how this can be true. I've been on Twitter for quite some time and over the holidays I noticed that I made all my movie choices based on whether they got any buzz on twitter. When I hear negative things, or don't hear anything on twitter, then I've skipped the movie. For example – we skipped The Tourist (no buzz=can't be very good), but I am determined to see True Grit (and I am NOT a western movie kind of girl and yet all the positive buzz makes me want to see it anyway.) I was ambivalent about Tangled at first – but not only did I hear good buzz, but we sprung for the 3d seats solely based on twitter talk about it being a great movie for 3d…

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