Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Return of Kings gets it wrong: The Star Wars anti-MRA agenda earned it tons of cash



Men's Right Activist site Return of Kings claims that its negative reviews of the new Star Wars film cost it $4.2 million in lost ticket sales. Key passage:
Fifty-five percent of respondents to a Return of Kings Twitter poll have said that online reporting of the social justice nature of The Force Awakens influenced their decision whether to see the film. Extended across our readership, with over 900,000 users accessing ROK between November 21 and December 21, this amounts to a potential direct impact of $4,219,456.54 (55% x $8.38 x 915,482) on total revenues.
I'm sure that extremely stupid people will find this persuasive, but there are some obviously stupid analytical assumptions here worth laughing at; regardless, the bottom line is that the Star Wars controvery likely cost it no more than $1.7m - and probably earned at least $34.5m more from women alone.

RoK's monthly unique users =/= RoK's monthly audience

This is web analytics 101: monthly uniques user traffic - which is what their 900k number clearly refers to - mostly just counts the unique IP+cookie combinations accessing the site. This tends to significantly overstate the number of real people who have visited, for all kinds of well-known reasons; for instance, if the same person visits a site from his home and his work computer, unique users would double his presence. A typical adjustment to this number brings it down 25-39%; generously, we should probably bring 886k down to 602k.



RoK's monthly audicence =/= Probable opening week audience

The top five grossing films of the year sold less than half of their tickets during opening week. So why assume that 100% of RoK readers made their decision between the Star Wars opening and the closing of their poll on December 22? Generously, we'll only chop that number in half, bringing the number of relevant readers down to 301k.



Decisions "affected" by RoK =/= Decisions against watching the movie

Hilariously, RoK didn't ask if their negative coverage dissuaded respondents from seeing Star Wars - they just asked if it "affected" their decision. This distinction is important, because some respondents may have gone to see Star Wars precisely because of RoK's opposition to the film! The rigorous response would be to throw away the poll entirely as poorly phrased, but since RoK insists on extrapolating results from it we have to find some way to account for "yes" responses who did see the film. Agnostically we could just split "yes" responses in half, but if you read through replies to their poll, the split is closer to 1:2. So pragmatically, we'll drop the "no" response to 66%.



Total impacts

These considerations more than halve RoK's potential impact: from $4.2m (55% x $8.38 x 915,482) down to $1.7m (66% x $8.28 x 301,000). Compare that to Star Wars' box office haul of $600,949,526 so far, and their negative impact comes down to a rounding error of around 0.27%.

A final obvious point RoK neglects is the potential positive impact of including SJW-friendly content in the Star Wars films. For instance, it's worth noting that while women usually only account for 38.5% of the historical Star Wars fan base, they accounted for 42% of the new film's audience. That means up to four million more women saw the film than previous demographics would predict, buying about $34.5 million more in tickets. And that doesn't account for any of the other audience demographics that also expanded, including racial minorities, Marxists, non-cishet viewers and other oppressed identities who may now feel more welcome in the Star Wars universe.



Clearly, the anti-MRA agenda is both politically correct and financially rewarding, with little risk of any popular backlash to worry about - which means that audiences can expect to see more of it in our favorite pop culture franchises.