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Impact of Celebrity Worship on Success of Movie

Introduction Strategic Positioning and effective communication are the two most important “mantras” guiding brand success in today‟s competitive marketing environment. Corporate are ensuring all possible efforts to promote their brands and to grab the customer‟s mind share. The impetus is on attracting the customer‟s attention and developing positive associations not just to influence recall but also to induce trial and eventually effect purchase decisions.

In a market where advertising plays a vital role in coordinating consumer purchases, it becomes pertinent for companies to induct all possible measures to influence motivate and inculcate desire to purchase, in the customer through an effective advertising campaign. Theory and practice proves that the use of superstars in advertising generates lot of publicity and attention. (Ohanian,1991).The billions of dollars spent on celebrity endorsement contracts show that celebrities like LIZ Hurley, Britney spears and Tiger woods play an important role in the advertising industry.

The above mentioned theory applies to Movie Industry too. This study attempts to find answers for the following management problem which would be useful for the movie directors and movie producers. Can celebrity worship be used as a tool to influence viewers and thereby be a deciding factor for ensuring success of a movie?

Literature Review The theatrical movie industry is immense and still growing. According to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA, 2003), total box office receipts for 2002 in the United States reached $9.5 billion and increased by 13.2% over 2001. However, an in-depth analysis of historical trends reveals some negative signs as, compared with double-digit growth in the late 1990s.The long-term growth rate has decreased to single-digits since 1999.Worse,whenconsidering the growth of competing entertainment industries, such as video/DVD, pay-per-view, and video on demand, it might be difficult for the movie industry to escape the low-growth trend. Competing media, however, can function as new windows for distributing theatrical movies. In other words, development of new competing media can contribute to increasing the revenues of movie

First. 1998. 1998. Considering the importance of theatrical success. previous research (Litman. Litman. Litman & Kohl.Wallace. 1986. Chatterjee.Oscar). there are still an insufficient number of studies that have classified independent variables based on the economic characteristics of movies.g. It is therefore certain that the box office plays a critical role as the gateway to financial success for theatrical movies (Litman & Ahn. practical considerations were not sufficient. 1983. 1994. 1979. 1998). 1989.Prag & Casavant. We have considered influence of only one such factor namely “Celebrity Worship” in our study. 1999. Levin. Actors-The effects of actors or star power have received considerable attention in the literature (Basuroy. 2003. De Silva. Neelamegham & Chintagunta. & . Taylor 1974. they are still ancillary markets and theatrical releases are located at the heart of the transnational conglomerate business because the box office comes first in the chain of windows and tends to determine performance in the subsequent markets (Litman & Ahn. Litman&Ahn. as independent variables for box office performance. Smith & Smith.. Ravid. or winning awards (e.Litman & Ahn. some studies (Litman.. Seigerman. 1976) showed that theatrical performance was an important determinant in explaining the expected ratings for movies on primetime television because theatrical performance of movies has been used to determine the quality of the movies (Wasko. Litman & Ahn. However. we discovered two aspects for which additional research is required. & Health.g. 1999. In reviewing the previous literature. Levin. awards are decided after movies are released. 1994. 1998).distributors. 1997. Despite the increased significance of the new windows. in most cases. 1998) adopted being nominated for. Second.&Ravid. 1999. These multiple and repeated uses of movies should contribute to larger revenues for Hollywood studios. For example. Holbrook. so it is not reasonable to assume causality in terms of a practitioner‟s perspective and not practical to enter the variable into prediction equations. De Vany & Walls. such as the industrial organization (IO) model (e. For example. much like the introduction of television and VCRs increased. although most literature stressed the importance of prediction as a research objective. 1998). Although some recent research began adopting theoretical frameworks. 1994). a theoretical framework focusing on the economic properties of movies may diversify literature concerned with box office success factors. several studies have been conducted to ascertain unexplained factors affecting the success of a movie in the mass distribution era. 1983. Sochay. revenues. 1999. rather than demolished.

Sochay. defined by items like „I have frequent thoughts about my favorite celebrity. By contrast. Low levels of celebrity worship have Entertainment-social value and comprise attitudes and behaviors like „my friends and I like to discuss what my favorite celebrity has done‟. 1994. Houran. Most literature has dealt with talent or superstars as dummy variables. Additionally. 1991) because in Hollywood the importance of actors to the success of movies has been considered common sense. even when I don‟t want to‟. 1994. and parts that are necessarily contained within other branded products (Keller. leading to more extreme (and perhaps delusional) behaviours to sustain the individual‟s satisfaction with the para-social relationship. 1998. 1986) did not find any significant effect. a compromised identity structure in some individuals facilitates psychological absorption with a celebrity in an attempt to establish an identity and a sense of fulfilment. 1993. Levin et al. This stage reflects the social aspects of celebrity worship and is consistent with Stever‟s (1991) observation that fans are attracted to a favorite celebrity because of their perceived ability to entertain and capture attention. Lange. Litman.Wyatt. Ashe. tries to more accurately measure the effect of superstars.2002. 1993. 1998. & McCutcheon. Empirical studies of actor effect. 1999. which involves creating brand equity for materials. According to this model. This stage . Although some researchers (Litman&Kohl. Smith & Smith. Maltby. this study showed that a new approach predicting the success of movies based on information seeking behaviors of potential moviegoers might be successfully developed. Prag & Casavant. 1991) found significant contributions from star power. & Houran. De Vany&Walls. McCutcheon. The model fits of suggested equations were relatively high and several independent variables were found to be significant. 2003. The dynamics of the motivational forces driving this absorption might in turn take on an addictive component. the use of superstars is strongly recommended because the use of stars in movies is actually ingredient branding. however. 1989. intermediate levels of celebrity worship are characterized by more Intense-personal feelings. 2001) are consistent with this proposed model and suggest that there are three increasingly more extreme sets of attitudes and behaviors associated with celebrity worship. Despite some limitations..In terms of brand theories. several other studies (De Silva. 1997). however.. McCutcheon. Wyatt. produced conflicting results.Holbrook. recent research has suggested that the type of interactions between individuals and the celebrities they worship may have important consequences for aspects of mental health. 1998. and Houran (2002) proposed an „Absorption–Addiction‟ model to explain such cases of celebrity worship. Several studies based on the Celebrity Attitude Scale (McCutcheon et al.. Litman & Ahn. components. Maltby.Wallace et al. 1983. This study.

however. I would consider spending it on a personal possession (like a napkin or paper plate) once used by my favorite celebrity‟. Recent studies have suggested that the Intense-personal aspects of celebrity worship are associated with poorer mental well-being through indices of neuroticism. artists and singers are just some of the people that could be regarded or labeled as celebrities. the list goes on and on. Giles. from war veterans obsessed with the act of battle to over religious terrorists obsessed with the act of violence. anxiety. This factor is thought to reflect an individual‟s social–pathological attitudes and behaviors that are held as a result of worshiping a celebrity. while others study whether it‟s a good habit or a bad habit. Some researches study the aspect of why people tend to lean towards celebrity worship. 2003). The truth is the only way to fully understand celebrity worship is to take all theories and opinions into consideration and drawing up conclusions.arguably reflects individuals‟ intensive and compulsive feelings around the celebrity. Since it has become of today‟s main factors of life. actors. 1991. It started since the dawn of time when someone who was regarded as superior than the average human being was idolized by his fans. as exemplified by items like „if someone gave me several thousand dollars (pounds) to do with as I please. Sportsmen..suggesting that people scoring high on the measure of Intense-personal aspects of celebrity worship may be vulnerable to establishing worry or distortions in their body shape. . and depression (Maltby et al. many researches have been developed studying this form of obsession. Maltby. Since the media nowadays is more than focused on celebrities. the most widely spread type of obsession is most commonly known as celebrity worship. 2000). akin to the obsessional tendencies of fans often referred to in the literature (Dietz et al. The most extreme expression of celebrity worship is labeled Borderline-pathological.. 2001. Houran. worry. As time passed celebrating celebrities has become more and more active. actresses. & McCutcheon. we live in the age where celebrity worship is most widely spread. for never before has the concept of celebrity worship reached the standard it lays at today. There are several types of obsessions.

Back in the fifties the needs of the average person was completely different than today. he/she has a point. owning a modest home. However. plastic surgery. and it is basically the concept of idolizing a celebrity as if he or she were some kind of a hero. Another theory would be the theory of Hero Worship.”(Violent Acres). and teeth made of gold.A question that pops up in everyone‟s mind is. To fully understand this theory one has to fully understand the meaning of the American Dream. and living the simple life. it is one of the major reasons why people are obsessing and “worshipping” them. why do we worship celebrities as if they were superiors? There are several theories and answers to that question. designer children. While the researcher was clearly being sarcastic. The American dream is best known as having a happy hard working family. . Basically what he/she was trying to say is that since the new American dream is having the life of a celebrity. One of those so called theories is the American Dream Theory. the American dream has changed with time. Now the American dream seems to involve “mansions.” (Celebrity Worship and the American Dream). and now what everyone craves seems to be having the life of a celebrity. That same research facility by the name of Violent Acres digs deeper into the American dream theory by exploring the clear connection of the American Dream and celebrities. “The average American spends half of their time chasing this new unattainable version of the American dream and the other half of their time watching those who are living it.

and why it‟s so widely spread. athlete. he or she tends to get addicted to the idea and tries as best as he/she can to stay updated with a certain celebrity‟s life or lifestyle. trend-setters and part of an extended social network of friends. Celebrities are popular. “Teens view celebrities as heroes.” In addition to supporting the idea of having celebrities as an inspiration. one has to wonder. is the interest in looking at alpha males and females. for it can be used as an inspiration. people tend to need a hero in their complicated lives and by looking at the perfect lives of celebrities and obsessing about them. Watching prestigious people is typical human nature. successful people who model behavior on how a teen can become successful herself. which clearly brings shows that celebrity worship as bad a reputation as it has can serve youth in a positive matter. and studied the survey before concluding that it is in fact healthy for teenagers to “worship” celebrities (Bayne). even the stars themselves get caught up in the mystique by worshipping other more celebrities in higher standards”(Fischoff). “Approximately one third of those . the ones who are important in the pack. to every bad side there‟s a good side. Part of their conclusion was that. For an example. The fact that this young boy worked hard to become an actor. as a social animal. If the concept of celebrity worship was used correctly. We are sociologically preprogrammed to „follow the leader‟ and we are biochemical sitting ducks for the Hollywood star system. The study looked at children between the ages of 11 and 16. A recent UK study done by psychologists from the Universities of Leicester and Coventry has backed up this statement with their research on teenagers and their often obsession towards celebrities. it might as well act in a positive manner.According to Stuart Fischoff who has academically studied the cult of celebrity. they have also proved that celebrity worship plays an important role of growing up. for when a person idolizes someone or dreams of their lifestyle. they fall under the celebrity worshippers‟ category. “What‟s in our DNA. In other words. Both of those theories involve the aspect of addictiveness. is it healthy for the average person to obsess about the life of another individual? The answer to that question can go either direction. They claimed that. Now that we‟ve found out about why people worship celebrities. it clearly means that celebrity worship is a good thing. and while most researchers have proven that it is without doubt a bad and unhealthy habit. or any other successful human being proves that him idolizing a certain celebrity has in fact helped him achieve his goals. if a young boy idolizes a soccer player and tries as hard as he can to live up to him and be like him.

Gossip magazines are very popular among teenagers. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. MD. Since the only good celebrity worship includes turns out to be related to a certain age group. for they are officially in trouble. anxiety. That‟s got to be less traumatizing than gossiping negatively about fellow classmates. with the focus on a celebrity replacing the focus that should be on our own lives. . and a handful of other mental problems. researchers questioned 372 men and women about their views towards celebrities. This common factor is the fact that they always prove that it is good and positive for the youth.” (Hollander) The reason for that being is because those individuals often encounter depression. This group could then be divided into three distinctive forms of worshipper: entertainment-social celebrity worshipper. According to Eric Hollander. In one of the largest studies of celebrity worship in the UK. gossiping about a celebrity and judging his or her acts is better than doing the same about a classmate. This has to do with sociology. “for those who have the fascination with celebrities as a substitution for real life. and how people socialize with one another. There is in fact some good that can come from the concept of celebrity worship and recent studies and researches have proven so. and this is a good thing because gossiping about celebrities serves as a substitution to gossiping about other fellow classmates. however. The main reason why this syndrome has been studied. it is when people continue to worship celebrities after leaving a certain age group that it becomes an unhealthy and possibly dangerous habit.(Brown). there‟s one aspect that is common or can be found in all those researches trying to prove that celebrity worship is a good thing rather than a bad one.surveyed revealed that gossiping about famous folk was a big part of socializing. what they found out was that just over 22 per cent of these could be classed as ”celebrity worshippers”. They always seem to claim that celebrity worship is good for teenagers or preteens. analyzed. In order to fully understand this concept one has to identify the connection between the addiction to worshipping celebrities and the behaviors of those same people or “worshippers”.”(Bayne). and researched numerous times over the past couple of years is because in several occasions those “worshippers” fall into an unhealthy habitat. those are the ones who should start to calm down. professor of psychiatry and director of the Compulsive. intense-personal worshipper and borderline-pathological worshipper. which leads to them taking the focus off their own lives and instead focus on the lives of celebrities. which makes one wonder about the adults who worship celebrities. and if one thinks about it. Impulsive and Anxiety Disorders program at Mt.

An example of such an act would be that of the infamous John Hinckley. things start to get too dangerous with the third category. and this involves acts of violence committed by those “worshippers” that are somehow related to their favorite celebrities. This stage often involves people stalking their idols or favored celebrities. Most importantly. read and re-read the book it was based upon. The second. These include celebrity stalkers and people who are willing to hurt themselves or others in the name of their idol. Those in this category are often neurotic. a movie starring Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle. The third and most dangerous category is borderline-pathological. The entertainment-social group is the largest of the three. active and adventurous.These are the three most commonly used categorize when it comes to studying the extension of a celebrity worship. antisocial and egocentric behavior. John Hinckley connected and identified with De Niro‟s character in an abnormal way to the point that he became psychotic.” (Rodriguez). Looking at the three categories. listening to it for hours on end. borderline-pathological. lively. The first category and least harmful is entertainment-social. tense. and in summary this is what she had to say. Travis is a lonely character who wanders the streets of New York alone until he crosses paths with a twelve year old prostitute played by Jodie Foster. and it is basically the idea of celebrity worship used to entertain and socialize about. Psychologists Lynn McCutcheon of DeVry University in Florida explained those three categories in an extremely detailed article. and bought the soundtrack to the film. They correlate with symptoms of psychosis. celebrity worship is a condition found in one per cent of celebrity worshippers. a typical borderline-pathological worshipper who took it a step too far. however. one can clearly see the transitions from one step to the other. intense-personal attitude towards an idol is when trouble starts to appear for they tend to develop a belief he or she had a special bond with the star. Samuel Rodriguez. such as impulsive.” (McCutcheon). However what placed him in the borderline-pathological category was his act of violence which he claims . emotional and moody. John Hinckley started to have mental problems the minute he watched „Taxi Driver‟. and they often tend to be social. The reason for that being is because “At its most intense. Jodie Foster. Hinckley developed an intense obsession with an actress in the film. a law student who studied the case of John Hinckley clearly states that “Hinckley saw the movie at least fifteen times. is intense-personal. and now it gets too intense for it involves stalking celebrities and invading their privacy. Travis tries to save her by killing her employees and those who force her to work as a prostitute. (McCutcheon) However. Hinckley even began to model certain aspects of his life on the actions of the main characters. However.

but today it‟s not just one star but almost every celebrity gets his share. one has to wonder who is to blame? There‟s no doubt that the answer to that question is the media. They are often followed by the paparazzi. “„Taxi Driver‟ was shown by the defense during John Hinckley‟s trial. for it can serve as a positive influence on a teenager. eyes fastened to the screen. Almost anyone nowadays can be placed in one of the three categories. or any other beloved one in that matter pass the first category also known as entertainment-social. Hinckley‟s reaction to the showing of the movie demonstrated the depth of the impression it had made on him. and start entering the later two more intense. Hinckley was sent to a mental institution where he is still being studied by experts. their probability to fall into the second and third type of the worship syndrome increases. After days of research. This may trigger various acts of violence committed by celebrity worshippers to increase in number.was dedicated to Jodie Foster. which is a very serious form of lack of privacy. and mentally harmful ones.‟ Instead of facing death sentence or prison by life sentence. and see a psychiatrist before things get too personal. the first thing one should do is calm down. There are several stages and categories of celebrity worship and anyone can categorize himself in one of the three main ones. What people should defiantly take into consideration is that whenever he/she sees himself/herself. At the end one can conclude that while celebrity worship is healthy for teenagers. The only solution for that matter is for the media to stop documenting every single detail of a celebrity‟s life and start focusing on more realistic and serious subjects. one can see that studying celebrity worship isn‟t as simple as one may think. Now that there are a variety of headlines on all kinds of celebrities. the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. he was so engrossed in the movie that he watched it mouth open. and although by now we know the stages and reasons for celebrity worship‟s existence in our everyday life. It may have started around the fifties when Marilyn Monroe started appearing on headlines worldwide. yet serve as an extremely harmful and mental issue for an adult. physically. According to Rodriguez. Why this study was conducted? . and photographed without permission. every celebrity worshipper has at least a clue of the celebrities‟ personal life and current location. Twisting in his chair to get a better look at the main character as Robert De Niro‟s mug appeared on the screen. as people grow in age. The media focuses and invades the lives of celebrities like never before.

Research Model was developed as to know the relationship of independent variables “Celebrity Worship” and “Desire to Watch movie “ on the dependent variable “Success of Movie” Research Model Z= a1+ b1X Desire to watch movie(Z) Y= a2+ b2Z Celebrity Worship(X) Y= a3+ b3X+ c3Z+ d3M Success of a Movie(Y) Region(M) 2. The director had confidence in Rajnikanth and has tried to use his celebrity image to advertise and make this movie a success. but we received responses from only 108 people. This is very true when it comes to film industry.The above described physiological imbalance is being exploited in today‟s markets. 4. 3. Success of a Movie . People go to watch movie because they want to see their celebrity rather than the movie itself. Here success of movie doesn‟t mean financial success alone. We have based our study on a Tamil Movie Endhiran.RajniKanth has acted in this movie as the Hero. The questionnaires were divided into 3 sections a. Celebrity Worship b.Questionaires would give more details on this.Super Star from Tamilnadu Mr. Questionnaires were distributed to almost 200+ people in one state of India-TamilNadu. Desire to watch Movie c. This is a very high budget movie. Analysis 1.

F=0.5. So it‟s a good idea to include Celebrities in taking movie. which was within the accepted level. which was within the accepted level.468 and 0.e. They will influence “Success of Movie”. F=0. Impact of “Desire to watch movie” on “Success of Movie” Significance of the model. . This showed that the model was acceptable with R=0. This showed that the model was acceptable with R=0. These variables truly influence “Success of Movie”.333 respectively Hence the variables taken for study”Celebrity Worship” and “Desire to watch Movie” are significant. 712 “Desire to watch movie” was the significant variable with significance value of t=0 “Celebrity Worship” was also significant because the significance value of t=0 which was within accepted limit. Answers were relative and scores were given 5to 1 marks i. Normal linear regression was run using the108 samples InferenceImpact of “Celebrity Worship” and “Desire to watch movie” on “Success of Movie” Significance of the model. Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree 6. Coeff beta are 0. 598 “Desire to watch movie” was the significant variable with significance value of t=0 Hence the variable “Desire to watch Movie” is significant this also influence “Success of Movie”.

Orlando. Westlake. UK 3DeVry University.5 and Diane D. UK 2Sheffield Hallam University. USA 4TrueBeginnings LLC. Raphael Gillett1. Orlando. PUJA KHATRI* Personality and coping: A context for examining celebrity worship and mental health John Maltby1*. Liza Day2.References:Devising a Practical Model for Predicting Theatrical Movie Success: Focusing on the Experience Good Property – Byeng-Hee Chang and Eyun-Jung Ki College of Journalism and Communications University of Florida Celebrity Endorsement :A Strategic Promotion Perspective DR. Lynn E. Ashe6 1University of Leicester. USA 5Integrated Knowledge Systems. Grapevine. McCutcheon3. James Houran4. USA . USA 6Private practice.