Nosedive or Second Coming of Films: A Social Media Phenomenon?

An article that looks into the effect of social media on the outcome of movies, whether it nosedives or has a second coming by Sanjay Mehta

While speaking at the India Social Summit recently, on a power panel on Social Media and the Entertainment Business, I had briefly remarked on the concept of “Saturdays becoming the new Fridays” and ideas around “Dramatic Crashes” and “Late Revivals” of films, as a result of Social Media.

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Here’s a video slice of my talk explaining this concept.

Here are the key thoughts in this context:

1. Since the multiplex culture hit few years back and films released large number of prints simultaneously, the fate of the film was decided largely, on the first weekend of the release.

2. The extent of expectation that was raised (aka pre-release hype), to that extent, the “initial” was commanded. Or in other words, the initial curiosity and intrigue that drove people into the cinema houses.

3. The first weekend was the biggest and depending on how big it went, it took a next few days or perhaps a couple of weeks of waning period of interest. The film made perhaps, 60-70% (sometimes even more) in that first weekend, and the rest, over the next several days.

4. So it was imperative for those film marketers who had the budgets, to generate maximum hype, and draw the largest initial, and then bank on the long tail of the waning period, to make their box office revenues.

All this was largely a pre-social media impact period.

To a fair extent, this behavior has been impacted by the advent of social media. And it has a HUGE say in a film’s fortunes.

The impact can be both, positive and negative, depending, as it should be, on the quality of the film, finally.

So I refer to these two potential consequences as The Nosedive and Late Revival (or Second Coming).

Let me explain The Nosedive:

1. From the earlier, above mentioned marketing method, a film tries and generates massive hype pre-release.

2. Manages to drive “some of the people” into the theatre on Friday.

3. They do not like the film at all. They come out and post on Facebook, tweet and generally, get word out that say, “stay away”.

4. And the rest of us folks “stay away”.

5. So what was supposed to be a big initial and then a useful waning period of box office earnings, actually turns out to be The Nosedive. Like a failed missile / rocket launch. A sad and early demise.

Huge case in point: Ra.One. More recent one: Agent Vinod.

So what then, is the Late Revival or the Second Coming:

1. This happens where the film, either on account of limited marketing budget, or on account of not having enough “draw power” (stars, etc.), has a relatively quiet release.

2. What that means is fewer cinemas, fewer shows, not a lot of publicity.

3. And yet, some of the keen diehards of cinema, discover the release, and manage to find their way into the cinema, over the first weekend, and the week after. A slow start for sure.

4. The rest of the mass audience do not even have the film in their horizon, or have any plans to see the movie.

5. But the film is actually good. And those initial viewers are happy. And perhaps surprised happy!

6. And due to this reason, they come out and enthusiastically write about the film. On Facebook, on Twitter and everywhere.

7. And some of us who had no plans to even consider the film, cannot ignore these posts creeping into our timelines and on our FB walls.

8. And then on the second weekend, or sometimes even after, many of us are now curious to get into the theatre, to catch the film.

And so happens the Late Revival or Second Coming.

Cases in point: Kahani and Paan Singh Tomar, in recent days.

While a lot of this thought process is empirical in nature, I would be very curious to see data of BO collections for films like Kahani and Paan Singh Tomar, especially comparing its first week vs its second and third ones. It may make for interesting reading!

I was prompted to write this seeing yet another Second Coming.

At this time, I am sensing Vicky Donor going through a Second Coming (pun totally unintended!!).

Have you sensed this kind of a development? My film buff friends, do you agree?

P.S: Article reproduced from the SocialWavelenth Blog.

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