A while back I wrote a little post about a movie that I would never see, and plenty of folks lined up to tell me that it was impossible to make a decision about a movie through word of mouth or what I had read on the Internet. Of course, I disagreed, because frankly how else can I make a decision about where to spend my hard earned time and money? But if I had to blame anyone for keeping me away from the movie theater that day, I'm going to have to blame the Internet. Yup, it was thanks to those sneak peeks and early screenings described in detail online that helped me make my decision before those battling robots ever took the stage. People are talking about movies more now than ever before thanks to social networking tools like Twitter and Facebook, and a new study from New Line's Web guru Gordon Paddison has proven that when it comes to movie marketing, all the action really is on the web.

What the report seems to be saying is that you need to know your audience if you want to sell your movie. Now, there are some daunting statistics that prove the power of the Internet when it comes to going to the movies, and if you aren't buying the effect the net can have on a film's success, keep in mind that 94% of all moviegoers are online, and 73% of moviegoers surveyed have profiles on a social networking site -- and if people are talking, you want to make sure it's positive because as the old commercial goes, they tell two friends, and they tell two friends, and before you know it, you have a flop on your hands.

After the jump: so what does this all mean for movie marketers?


Most moviegoers (at least in certain age groups) are much more interested in what their online pals have to say about a film than those stuffy old critics ... and, as we know, sometimes word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool a film can have.
So as to be expected, what this really means is that studios are going to have to start targeting their marketing dollars like never before -- because if you're looking to sell your latest teen flick, you better be online making Facebook pages and tweeting in-character because teens between the ages of 13-17 are big fans of the 'group think'. But it still comes down to knowing your audience, and if you're selling a film like Fame, then sure, the online world is going to be your friend. But, if you're going to market to the 50 and up crowd for a film like It's Complicated, you probably won't be setting up a MySpace profile any time soon.

So now we've heard from the egg-heads, but what about you? How much do you rely on what you read online (whether its via friends on twitter or another social networking site, or even at fantabulous sites like Cinematical) to influence where you spend your box-office dollars? Sound off in the comments...