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Movies as Information Cascades


Everyone loves going to the movies. It is a fun and entertaining activity for people to do with friends and family. However, it is a difficult decision for people to make as to which movie to see. The end decision people make can be explained by an information cascade.


Movies as information cascades can be demonstrated by the newly released film, “Thor: Ragnarok,” which has made $121 million in North America in just one weekend. This is the third “Thor” movie and the 17th Marvel movie released. According to the article, this third film marked a 41% increase over the opening of the second “Thor” film and an 84% increase over the opening of the original one. The success of this movie can be explained by multiple cascades. The first cascade is comprised of the previous viewers of the first two “Thor” films, whether they were big fans of the movies or just casual moviegoers. Since they were already exposed to the previous movie, they are able to make immediate decisions as to whether or not they want to see the third movie when it comes out. This group has enjoyed the movies in the past, which can be seen as private information, which will lead them to believe that seeing the third movie would be just as enjoyable and decide to go see it. They will encourage friends and family to join them in the theater, which creates a cascade of more and more viewers going to see the movie. Another cascade is the publicity of the movie, which will convince others to see the movie if they are unsure. These indecisive people are usually intrigued by the trailer, and convinced by reviews and ratings. As long as the movie has a significant number of good reviews, the cascade of viewers going to see the movie will continue to get larger and larger. In this case, all of the positive ratings of “Thor: Ragnarok” from the weekend will entice people who are on the fence to go see the movie. Conversely, if a movie gets really bad reviews and negative publicity, this will detract moviegoers from choosing to see this particular movie. Putting all of this together, it can be seen that the popularity or lack thereof of a new movie can be explained by an information cascade.


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