Proof that movie critics matter

You read the familiar lament when critics review a surefire blockbuster: "It doesn't matter what I write; people will go see it anyway."

That's mostly true for Hollywood's big-budget releases, but as Erik Lundegaard points out in making the case that we need movie critics, these arbiters of taste have a measurable effect on box-office receipts.

Using basic math and the compendium of critical reviews from Rottentomatoes, Lundegaard shows that across the board — from art-house flicks to major studio releases — better-reviewed films earn more on a per-screen average than movies that are panned. Of 234 films released in 2007 and reviewed on Rottentomatoes, Lundegaard discovers:

While there were fewer "fresh" films (i.e., movies that critics liked) and they showed on fewer screens and took in less overall box office, they tended to make almost $1,000 more per screen than "rotten" movies (i.e., movies critics didn't like). So, on a per-screen-basis, more people are following critics into theaters than not.

With that in mind, here's a link to my review for Hancock.


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