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

Michael Peress, Arthur Spirling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

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
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty

Keywords

  • Film
  • Ideal points
  • Utility threshold model

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