The power of the “like” button: The impact of social media on box office

Chao Ding*, Hsing Kenneth Cheng, Yang DUAN, Yong Jin

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    86 Citations (Scopus)


    The mainstream research of social factors and box office performance has concentrated on post-consumption opinion mining and sentiment analysis, which are difficult to operationalize to the benefits of the industry practitioners whose objective is to maximize box office sales. In this study, we propose the Facebook “like” as an effective social marketing tool before the release of movies for several reasons. Firstly, people's prerelease “liking” of movies can be influenced by marketing campaigns. Secondly, the clicks of “likes” create social impact, as suggested by the Social Impact Theory, on moviegoers' consumption behaviors. And thirdly, Facebook “like” provides practitioners with real-time visible updates. By studying the impact of prerelease “likes” on box office sales, we not only contribute to the literature by offering a new social metric to evaluate the box office performance, but also provide the industry practitioners with quantitative support for the effectiveness of their social marketing activities. Our empirical results indicate that the prerelease “likes” exert a significantly positive impact on box office performance. More specifically, 1% increase in the number of “likes” in the one week prior to release is associated with an increase of the opening week box office by about 0.2%. As it approaches the release date, the prerelease “like” impact becomes stronger, suggesting that the latest prerelease “likes” are more effective in driving box office performance.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)77-84
    Number of pages8
    JournalDecision Support Systems
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Management Information Systems
    • Information Systems
    • Developmental and Educational Psychology
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
    • Information Systems and Management

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Box office
    • Facebook “like”
    • Social impact
    • Social marketing


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