Did Twitter cost ‘Bruno’ millions?

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How much does word of mouth affect a film’s box office? Thanks to modern social networking devices like Twitter and Facebook, word of mouth is getting louder. WebProNews points us to an article that appeared in TIME online yesterday that suggests Twitter cost Bruno millions.

Instant-messaging can make or break a film within 24 hours. Friday is the new weekend.

The film was still the champion of the weekend that it opened, but some original estimates suggested it would make $50 million opening weekend. Instead it brought in just over $30 million, still impressive but a $20 million difference.

The TIME article suggests that thanks to the quick word of mouth of Twitter, people opted out of seeing Bruno and instead chose other movies. They say word of mouth hurt Bruno.

The point is valid, but I don’t think it’s entirely true. Despite the lackluster response to Bruno, it was still well-received by many. Critics rated it higher than many other films released recently that have had Box Office success. Most notably Transformers 2, which received an incredibly low grade from the critics and mostly negative response from Twitter users, but continues to make a killing at the Box Office.

Where Bruno failed and Transformers succeeded is in achieving an audience. Transformers appeals to teen boys and girls (ages 14-17), a huge segment of the movie-going population and only casual Twitter users. Bruno attempted to appeal to the MTV audience – high school and college age students. This audience is very present on Twitter, but that’s not the reason it didn’t make money. Even before going into the theatres, it was evident what kind of movie Bruno was going to be. The content of the film was just too much for middle American young adults.

What do you think Twitter’s influence is on a film’s Box Office take?

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  • G1000

    I don’t believe Twitter (or any other site like it) has any effect whatsoever. If you’re the kind of person who wants to see “Transformers 2”, it won’t matter what other people say about it. And Alex, you were going to go see “Whatever Works” even if the word of mouth had been absolutely horrendous (which it wasn’t).

    Personally, word of mouth makes a big difference to me, but to most people it doesn’t. So Twitter may have cost Bruno a thousand ticket sales or so, but millions? I doubt it.

  • G1000

    Sorry, forgot to put “Bruno” in quotes. Doubt anyone cares.

  • makavelii

    bruno didn’t make much money cuz it looked like a borat film it just didn’t appeal to many ppl. people would rather watch a good movie than bruno you can’t say that word of mouth hurt the film. the film itself and the advertising was sucicidal enough.

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