Likes and dislikes on a trailer: Decoding its affect on film’s actual business and fate

The online world today plays a big role in creating appropriate build-up for a movie’s release. From actors connecting with their fans, virtual promotions to even likes and dislikes on a film’s trailer getting much publicity, the digital world seems like an unavoidable force.

Take for instance Sadak 2, starring Alia Bhatt, Sanjay Dutt and Aditya Roy Kapur, which had released it’s trailer on YouTube, and within a week became the second most disliked video on the platform. Its performance, too, on an OTT platform, was lackluster. Makers of Laxmmi Bomb, with Akshay Kumar in the lead along with Kiara Advani, disabled the like/dislike button for the trailer, on the video sharing platform.

But do these likes and dislikes really hold the power to sway public opinion and affect a film’s prospects?

Filmmaker Tigmanshu Dhulia, whose directorial Yaara released directly on an OTT platform, says, “I don’t think so. When I look at the trailer, I don’t see how many people have liked or disliked it. If I like it, I watch the film. But I am sure it affects, like I have not seen Sadak 2, but I have been hearing so much about it. I kind of also thought of not watching it. That’s why people kind of take the measures (like Laxmmi Bomb).”

The trade point of view says that this is going to be there, but it’s a short term thing. Trade analyst Joginder Tuteja says that this “bluff” is being caught.

“The way people are using it, like you saw on IMDb. For example, Dil Bechara. Not to take away credit from the film, but it was not a 9.6 film. But on the day it released on an OTT platform, it became a 9.6, with 10-15,000 votes. Similarly, Sadak 2 became 1.5, it was not that,” he says.

Tuteja adds that even for a video that would get too many likes on YouTube, there would be an outcry.

“That it’s manipulated, there are bots. Even when it comes to negativity it’s the bots at work. The problem is, that till the time people realise this, filmmakers have to safeguard their interests better, and diffuse the noise,” he explains.

With his upcoming release on the web, Chhalaang’s trailer not having disabled like or dislike option on the video sharing platform, , filmmaker Hansal Mehta, says, “They’re important for the social media, there’s a separate ecosystem at work there. I think a lot of it is white noise, these things are important for that anonymous, virtual network, but even then it doesn’t necessarily translate into quality or success or failure of a film,” says the 52-year-old.

Trade expert Atul Mohan concurs, “There have been many films which got average response, and even dislikes, but it didn’t really matter. You can’t satisfy all the people all the time. I don’t take that as a parameter. Yes, the ratio of more likes creates anticipation, but who cares?”

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