The success or failure of a movie is traditionally judged by its box office collections over the very first weekend of its release. However in the case of the movie Bruno, some believe its success is determined by the nature of tweets about the movie.
After a very encouraging opening on Friday, with collections of $14.4 million, the rest of the weekend turned out to be something of a damp squib by comparison. While Friday’s collections made observers predict a first weekend collection of around $50 million, the actual takings at the box office amounted to only about $30 million, which is a very big let down, and rather unusual.
Trade analysts and others from the field, are suggesting that the popular micro-blogging site Twitter caused the downfall of the movie. It is believed that reviews sent out on the social platform could have discouraged prospective viewers from going to see the movie.
While this may certainly be true to an extent, one needs to evaluate objectively why the tweets sent out were so largely negative in the first place.
Could it be possible that the movie was really not what the audiences may have expected, and therefore it did not do well?
The article on Time.com indicated that the second Transformers movie and Ice Age both performed very well during the same time frame, in spite of both being in their second week.
The trend for Bruno on Twitter, seen above, shows a definite spike on Saturday, with Bruno-related tweets accounting for 0.71% of all tweets, followed by a steady descent. The same pattern was seen a week earlier, for Transformers, albeit with a much higher peak – 2.13% of all tweets – followed by a sharper decline in discussions, as seen below.
Comparing Twitter streams for Bruno and Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen, both have equal numbers of positive and negative reviews today.
However, the real reason becomes more obvious when we compare the US and UK markets. Tweets from the UK are largely positive, which probably reflects its success at the UK box office – 2nd biggest opening ever for an 18+ movie – whereas tweets from the USA focus on the gay content and the sexual obscenities.
Cultural differences, especially rampant homophobia in the USA, are probably a big factor that could explain why the movie is faring poorly in the USA. Another factor could be that the movie is just plain bad. To be fair, though, it is certainly possible that the existance of Twitter allowed viewers who could not stomach the flamboyant homosexual fashion designer to spread their views faster than normally would have been possible.