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Consumers' identification and beyond: Attraction, reverence, and escapism in the evaluation of films

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Abstract

Secondary real-world data on evaluations by the general public of the 440 movies ever nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award are used to explore the role of female/male consumers' identification with the leading actress/actor in determining judgments of motion picture excellence. Beyond identification, age- and gender-based similarities with other movie components—namely, the leading opposite-gender star, the director, and the setting—underlie other potential psychological mechanisms relevant to explaining the evaluations of films. Contrary to expectations, the findings indicate that identification with the same-gender, same-age leading star plays no signifi-cant role. Conversely, younger opposite-gender leading stars, older directors, and unfamiliar temporal settings contribute to favorable evaluations—thereby supporting the hypotheses of romantic attraction as a source of star power; reverence toward more mature directors; and an eagerness to escape from ordinary life, respectively. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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