Scaling the critics: Uncovering the latent dimensions of movie criticism with an item response approach

Michael Peress, Arthur Spirling

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    We study the critical opinions of expert movie reviewers as an item response problem. Building on earlier "unfolding" models, we develop a framework that models an individual's decision to approve or disapprove of an item. Using this approach, we are able to recover the locations of movies and ideal points of critics in the same multidimensional space. We demonstrate that a three-dimensional model captures much of the variation in critical opinions. The first dimension signifies movie "quality" while the other two connote the nature and subject matter of the films. We then demonstrate that the dimensions uncovered from our "utility threshold model" are statistically significant predictors of a movie's success, and are particularly useful in predicting the success of independent films.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)71-83
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of the American Statistical Association
    Volume105
    Issue number489
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Mar 2010

    Keywords

    • Film
    • Ideal points
    • Utility threshold model

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Statistics and Probability
    • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty

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