By Film Threat Staff | March 26, 2004

Independent film research and tracking firm filmBUZZ has released the first in-depth, nationwide analysis of film festivals, concluding that these events provide important indicators for box office success of specialty films. More than 25,000 audience members, 419 unique film titles, and 63 film festivals were included in the year-long study, conducted throughout 2003.
filmBUZZ estimates that as many as 2 million movie-goers attend a film festival in the United States each year, reflecting a loyal independent film audience that may be currently underutilized by distributors. “In our exit surveys at film festivals, we discovered that audiences members’ demographics closely mirror those of arthouse patrons,” said Greg Kahn, filmBUZZ President. “These film festival attendees, the majority of whom live in close proximity to the events, are prototypical ‘influencers’ who also actively support independent film outside of the festival circuit. Kahn added, “our research indicates that film festival audience members are 2 to 3 times more likely than the typical American filmgoer to see a motion picture in a theater.”
The report focuses on the “playability” of films among core audiences, demonstrating the value of tracking word-of-mouth at regional film festivals in order to forecast the box office potential of a film’s theatrical release. filmBUZZ’s 40-page analysis also examines the effect of critical reviews on theatrical revenue. In its preliminary analysis of professional film reviews, filmBUZZ found no correlation between critical praise and either audience ratings or box office success.
Also highlighted in the report is an analysis of the relative value of advertising, publicity, award nominations, critical reviews, and screen penetration on domestic box office sales for independent and foreign films. The study collectively addresses several important questions, including:
How can box official potential be predicted from audience feedback? ^ How does the demographic profile of a regional film festival audience compare to that of an art house audience and the general American public? ^ How can U.S. film festival audiences predict trends in taste in the independent film marketplace? ^ How can festivals be effectively utilized to discover new films?
For more info, visit the filmBUZZ website.

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