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Are Successful Media, Principally Highly Successful Movies, Successful Because They Accurately Reflect the Social Mood of the Public ?

In: Film and Music

Submitted By nobleas20000
Words 3023
Pages 13
Introduction
Established empirical research suggests that highly successful media, principally moves, are successful by virtue of the fact that the audience closely associate with the general mood, temperament and “message” that is being communicated. It will be shown that the success of particular genres of film changes through time in tune with the prevailing human social mood. Human social mood is determined by the human herding instinct which is generated by the limbic system of the human brain and is an involuntary, unconscious, “hard-wired” human condition. In order to establish the correlation between highly successful movies and human social mood we require a quantitative measure of human social mood, this is provided by the “Wave Principle” which measures the wave behaviour of the major stockmarket indices. These indexes are a qualitative measure and ‘barometer” of social mood.
We will discuss principally, highly successful movies, as these are believed to be most representative of the public mood since they reach the largest audience. Successful movies don’t just happen, but rather they result from having perfect empathy with the prevailing mood of the public en-masse. Highly successful movies, include groundbreaking movies which define a genre and we will look at the historical correlation of these with public mood. We will discuss numerous examples of how social mood has influenced the production of blockbuster movies over the past 70 years and how these movies have captured the public mood and imagination of the times. We will then discuss, in more detail, the manifestation of the ongoing severe “bear” market in equities since 2000 within the film industry. Specifically, we will look at the recent blockbuster ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008) and how This film differed significantly to the previous “Batman” movies, being darker, more fearful and more realistic. It will be demonstrated that “The Dark Knight” successfully mimicked and empathized with the highly fearful and unduly pessimistic public mood that is ongoing
We will also discuss how such knowledge of the stockmarket’s wave structure can help us to predict what genre and type of movie we should be producing today in order to improve our chances of success in the future.

The “Wave Principle” and human social mood
In order to demonstrate a connection between public mood and successful movies, we need to have an accurate measure of human social mood. There is one established empirical method, amongst others, that we will be discussing, and that is the “Wave Principle” pioneered by R.N. Elliot in 1938 (Ref Z ). R.N. Elliot (1871 – 1948) was a pioneer in the science of understanding the mass psychology of human society. He determined that human mass psychology is governed principally by emotion and not reason (Ref 1, see appendix). This conclusion is supported by more recent neurophysiological research which shows that the human brain is comprised of a hierarchy of three fundamentally distinct brains in one (ref 2).These three brain divisions are responsible for different functions and all can be operative at any given time. The Primal reptilian and Limbic brains, the “Limbic System”, produce essentially irrational, unconscious actionss such as breathing, survival responses and body language etc. The survival responses are responsible for the human “herding” syndrome which essentially enabled our ancestors to survive better. Although humans have the ability to think and reason rationally via the neocortex, they also exhibit unconscious, interdependent behaviour when herding in groups. The larger the group, the more compelling the unconscious behaviour. In groups, humans exhibit irrational behaviour, think of football crowds, the rise of the Nazis, witch trials of the 17th century etc. A very good modern example of this is the behaviour of the public within financial markets. It has been shown that most people “follow the trend’ when investing in the stock market to the extent that ridiculous valuations of company stocks can result(both positive and negative). Classic examples are the “South Sea Bubble” of 1719-1720 (Ref X ), the “Tulip Mania” of 1636-1637 (Ref Y), the Wall Street Crash of 1929-1932 and the more recent technology led bubble upto 2000 and the subsequent severe bear market that currently exists.
Elliott made the connection between human social mood and the stock market, he noted that ‘Human emotions… are rhythmical’ and that these waves govern ‘all human activities, whether it is business, politics, or the pursuit of pleasure’ (Ref 3). At the same time, he observed in detail the price fluctuations in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (“DJIA”) index following the Great Crash of 1929. He postulated a theory stating that stock prices are led by repetitive sequences or waves which are predictable and in tune with human emotions. These waves form the basis of Elliot Wave Theory and the Wave Principle (Ref 3 and Z) and connects cyclical human emotions directly with cycles in the financial markets.
Robert Prechter later built on the work of Elliott and others stating that “en masse” human mood is ‘causal’ in that it preceeds external events such as stock market collapse or growth, war, changes in fashion, re-occurrence of particular movie genres etc. and that the stock market is a direct barometer of social mood (Ref 4). This is in direct opposition to conventional wisdom that says that human mood is affected by such external events as stockmarket collapse, war etc. Prechter went on to call this particular theory the science of socionomics (not be confused with socio-economics). According to Prechter, by determining the wave structure at any given time in detail, it is possible to determine the over-riding general human social mood. Prechter then went on to show that when social mood was generally optimistic, uplifting, inquisitive, inclusive and mystical as indicated by rising stockmarket prices, then highly successful movies were generally light, breezy, happy and uplifting. Conversely, when social mood was pessimistic, fearful, depressed, introverted and exclusive, as indicated by a falling stockmarket prices , then highly successful movies tended to be of the horror genre and dark or disturbing (ref 5). He showed similar correlations between social mood and a range of other social phenomena such as falling hemlines, dark colours, presidential unpopularity, introspective music, discrimination and conflict (ie. wars) that occurred during period of extreme pessimism.

Highly Successful Movies - The Historical Perspective
A review of the past 70 years will show how the theory stands up. In 1937, the stock market was flourishing and the preceding 5 year bull market was the quickest exponential gain in US stocks ever recorded. During 1937, Walt Disney released its first ever feature length cartoon, ‘Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs’ which was a huge hit. Viewers of all ages poured into cinemas to watch this film. For the next thirty years, as the stock market continued to climb, this genre of film remained highly fashionable, with releases such classics as ‘Pinocchio’, ‘Cinderella’, ‘Peter Pan’, ‘Sleeping beauty’ and ‘Mary Poppins’ in 1964. However, this period of success came to an abrupt halt as the stock market peaked in 1966, from this point on, and for the next sixteen years as the social mood and subsequently, the stock market deteriorated, Walt Disney’s productivity dropped by more than 50% and their releases after 1966 were heavily slated by critics to be sappy and puerile. The only exception was to be the classic ‘The Jungle Book’ .The bear market lasted until the late 1980’s and 90’s when the social mood recovered and the stock markets once again resumed their bull market trajectory. Between 1989 to 1998 Walt Disney returned from the dead and released many box-office blockbusters such as ‘The Little Mermaid’, ‘Beauty And the Beast’, ‘Aladdin’, ‘The Llion king’, ‘ Hercules’ , “Pocahontas”, and ‘Mulan’. Whether intentionally or not, highly successful Walt Disney productions were released during bull markets, reflecting the buoyant, uplifting social mood.
The horror film genre hit the big screen as the stock markets were tumbling during the “Great Crash”. Between 1930 to 1933, five vintage horror films were released , first was ‘Frankenstein’ and then ‘Dracula’ which were released in 1931. When the stock market hit rock-bottom in 1932, ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ was released in which Frederick March won an Oscar. In 1933, in the hold of the Great Depression, when the DJIA tested it’s lows, the films ‘The Mummy’ and ‘King Kong’ were released. All these smash hits that came out during harsh economic times, when the social mood had weakened, genuinely shocked audiences. During a mini-bull market in 1935, Hollywood attempted to release a new horror movie ‘Werewolf In London’ which ironically was a complete washout. However producers attempted again in 1941 when the stock market and social mood were in the depths of cataclysm, ‘Wolf Man’ was a smash hit. For the next decade or so, producers carried on producing films in the same genre of vampires, monsters, mummies until the stock market reached its ultimate bottom in 1942.
After 1942, during the ensuing bull market, movies left the realm of darkness and entered a different era. Horror became a farcical subject, with the release of ‘When Abbott and Costello met Frankenstein’. Another example was in 1957 when ‘ I Was a Teenage Frankenstein’ was released, it was panned by critics as the worst horror movie ever made.
The tide changed yet again in 1966 when social mood entered a pessimistic period and an ensuing bear market. Trailblazing horror movies once again emerged with releases such as ‘Night Of the Living Dead’ in 1968, following the year in which Walt Disney stopped producing classic feature cartoons. The film was so prominent that a sequel plus two books followed. In 1974, when stock markets were at a year low a leap in the gore genre emerged with the debut of ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’. Other films that followed this were shockers such as ‘The shining’, ‘Halloween’, Demon Barber of Fleet Street’ and the famous ‘splatter movies’ ( so-called-slice-and-dice films) such as ‘Friday the 13th’ .
After 1984, a strong bull market surfaced and once again horror movies became muted and witty. During the 90’s the social mood was bright and uplifting and classics such as Groundhog day (1993), “TheTerminator”, Beverly Hills Cop”, “Brazil,, ‘Back to the Future” , and “A Room with a View were released (1984-1986), in addition to the Disney pioneering animations ”The Lion King” , “The Little Mermaid” and “Toy Story”(1994). It’s interesting to note that, around the time of the minor bear markets of 1987 and 1991 the films “Blue Velvet” and “Silence of the Lambs” were released (Ref ZZ). Both films were both compelling and disturbing in their content, that of violence and cannabalism and defined a whole new genre of bizarreness and horror. For the rest of the 1990’s however, in the lead up to the technology led stockmarket bubble and subsequent collapse in 2000, the social mood was once again buoyant, breezy, inquisitive, and mystical, as evidenced by the release of such classic movies as “Independence Day”, “Mission Impossible”, “Austin Powers”, “The Fifth Element”, “The Full Monty”, “Men in Black”, “Antz”, “A Bug’s Life”, “Saving Private Ryan”, “The Truman Show”, and “The Matrix”, all of which were released between 1995 and 1999. It is interesting to note that, just prior to the collapse of the technology bubble in 2000, a few more darker, sinister movies emerged, these being “The Blair Witch Project”, “Eyes Wide Shut”, Fight Club”, “The Talented Mr Ripley”, no doubt a sign of things to come.
Following the technology led stockmarket collapse in 2000 and the onset of the current severe bear market (Elliot Wave analyists believe that the stockmarket since 2000 has been in a multi-decade bear market despite the fact that it rallied prior to 2008), arguably the greatest bear market since the Great Crash of 1929, there has been a noticeable shift in the genre of movies and the types of role that famous actors are now playing. For example, in “Dogsville” (2003)Nicole Kidman moves out of her usual conventional role-type and plays an abused women within a film set that is defined by chalk lines on the floor of a film studio groundbreaking. In 2002, Robin Williams stared in the movie “One Hour Photo” in which he plays an emotionally scarred shop assistant with a dark past. Cherize Theron plays a murdering prostitute in “Monster” (2003). “American Psycho” (2000) portrays a sadistic Wall Street Broker, Christian Bale, who tortures his victims to death. In 2001 “Vanilla Sky” with Tom Cruise as a facially disfigured misfit and “Kill Bill Vol 1”in 2003 with Uma Thurman as an unconcious paralysed victim of horrific violence and sex-abuse.

The Recent Perspective on ‘The Dark Knight’
Movie franchises in which a central character and theme are explored through a series of movies offer an opportunity to quantitatively assess the human social mood & movie success relationship. The “Batman” movies are one such franchise. The huge success of the recent Batman movie “The Dark Knight”(2008) supports very well the current negative and fearful human social mood.
“The Dark Knight” is without doubt the most successful Batman movie ever made, it grossed over $1 billion worldwide, dwarfing the revenues earned by it’s predecessors, and was nominated for a total of 8 Oscars (ref Z2). Why was that ? All of the previous Batman movies, with the exception of “Batman Begins” (2005), were released during the bull market years of the late 1980’s and 1990’s, These films were generally light and humerous and portrayed Batman and Robin as wholesome crime busters with arch enemies who were generally wacky and amusing. Michael Keaton, the star of two films was actually known as a standup comic before taking the role of Batman. The release of “Batman Begins” in 2005 set the change in tone to come, it aimed for a darker more realistic tone, reflecting the severe bear market since 2000. Critics noted that fear was a common theme throughout the film and remarked that it had a darker tone to previous Batman movies (Ref Z2) consistent with the bear market and fearful social mood. Following this, ’The Dark Knight” was released in 2008, during arguably the worst financial crisis since the Great Crash of 1929.
Comparison to “Batman Forever” (1995) released during the major bull market of the 1990’s, when social mood was generally euphoric, is useful. Firstly Batman in ‘Batman Forever’ has an ever-binding partnership with Robin inferring supportiveness and togetherness, whereas in ‘The Dark Knight’ there is no Robin and Batman loaths the notion of having anyone impersonating him, solitary and exclusive. In ‘Batman Forever’ Batman and Robin’s costumes were shiny and colourful, whereas in ‘The Dark Knight’, Batman’s costume was matt black, dark and unsettlingly bleak. A significant character change is the transformation of “The Joker”, from Jim Carrey acting a funny, zany guy with bleached red hair to Heath Ledger who appears severly emotionally damaged from having an abusive father. The character Harvey Dent or ‘Two Face’ too has also drastically changed from being cartoon-like to being more real. Everything about ‘The Dark Knight’ is dark, more real and serious than it’s predecessors, reflecting the fear in society.
In 2008, the Press stated that the success of the movie was accredited to a weak economy, however Socionomics presents a different view of the successfulness of this epic batman film (Ref ??). Professor Dennis Elam at Texas A&M-Kingsville posted this particular commentary about ‘The Dark Knight’:
‘The new social science of socionomics links how popular culture reflects the economic environment. There is no better social laboratory that the stock market; the prices are there for everyone to see every day. Optimism brings higher prices and pessimism brings lower prices. The lack of hope for Gotham City reflects the frustration and low consumer expectations in the market’ (reference ??)
. Further, J.Michael McBride clarifies Elams assumption on his blog;
‘The general population’s dark mood which makes a movie like “The Drak knight” so popular also drives markets down’ (reference ??)
Not only was “The Dark Knight” dark and sinister, one of it’s main stars, Heath Ledger died shortly after filming, apparently from a prescription drug overdose. There was speculation as to whether the dark nature of the film role had affected Ledger’s mental stability, Ledger apparently lived alone in a hotel room for a month to prepare for the role, dark indeed.

The Future Perspective
It is an interesting idea that successful movie directors and producers are those that are fully “in-tune” with the social mood of the public, even more interesting to think that they are in-tune with the public’s social mood 18 months to 2 years beyond, when the film is actually released. This suggests that we should be able to predict what film genres are going to be popular in advance if we can determine the future social mood from today’s stockmarket wave structure. The current Elliott Wave interpretation of the stockmarket gyrations is that the social mood is extremely negative as evidenced by plummeting stock market indices, and these are predicted to go down even further as we enter a depression.. It is interesting to note that horror zombie movies have just made a re-emergence into mainstream cinema, food for thought.

Conclusion
It has been demonstrated, both theoretically and empirically, that successful media, principally, highly successful movies, are indeed successful because they accurately reflect and emphasise with the current social mood of the public, this being reflected in the price action of the stock market indices.

References:
1. http://www.mi.sanu.ac.yu/vismath/proceedings/green.htm
2. http://www.montgomerycap.com/documents/85-Brain.PDF
3. http://www.socionomics.net/whatis/elliott-wave-principle.aspx#wave
4. Prechter, Robert, Jr. (1999) The Wave Principle of Human Social Behavior and The New Science of Socionomics, Gainesville, GA: New Classics Library.
5. http://www.socionomics.net/history/
X. Extraordinary popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds, by Charles Mackay.
Z. Elliott Wave Principle: Key to Market Behavior (Wiley Trading Advantage) (Paperback) by A. J. Frost (Author), Robert R. Prechter Jr. (Author), Charles J. Collins (
Y http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_mania…...

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...Knowledge management embedded in social media – successful company and its innovations ABSTRACT The continuous market pressures and competitions pushes the organisation to be in the race of making innovations besides safeguarding the talent and information they own. The race for new products and services for the customers arises due to increasing awareness and exposure through social media. This essay focuses on studying the knowledge management jointly with social media leading to innovation. The essay seeks to examine the role of social media taking IKEA as the case of interest. It aims to further investigate how knowledge management through social media help a company in its innovations, product development and services. 1. INTRODUCTION. Knowledge management has become the buzzword in recent past in the industrial sector. Companies have become very focused on the knowledge assets that they own and the capabilities of their organisation or company and staff to utilize theses assets. Thus, knowledge can be called a resource which could be acquired, exploited and applied to achieve success and advantage for the company (Zack, 2003). However, companies that fail to manage the knowledge it has might surely be losing its capabilities, potential and brains (Denford, J. S., & Chan, Y. E., 2011). The benefits that knowledge management offers ranges from promotion and elevation of unequivocal knowledge to attain efficiency and innovation in various business practices......

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