Cinematic success criteria and their predictors: The art and business of the film industry

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Abstract

The author reviewed the empirical research on the factors underlying the success of feature-length narrative films. After specifying some methodological caveats, the review examined the three main criteria by which a film's success can be evaluated: critical evaluations (both early and post-theatrical run), financial performance (including first weekend and gross), and movie awards (including dramatic, visual, technical, and music categories). To what extent do these criteria represent distinct aesthetic and economic assessments? The review then turned to the various predictors of these success criteria. How is success connected with the film's production and distribution characteristics? To what extent do the predictors converge and diverge across alternative criteria? The article then closes with a discussion of some psychological issues raised by the reviewed findings. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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