Over the years, Hollywood hype pushers have called movies riveting, thrilling, gripping, insert-your-own -ing here. Now the hypesters have some technology to back up their claims: 20th Century Fox recently used wearable tech wristbands on 100 audience members watching test screenings for the December 2015 release Revenant to gauge audience reaction.
According to the biometric data, which measured participants’ heart rate, skin moisture, movement, and gasps, Revenant has 14 heart-pounding moments, showing a jump in heart rates, and 15 scenes that aroused fight-or-flight responses. For just over half the movie, audience members registered as almost completely motionless, which the studio interprets as them being on the edge of their seats. For some reason, just sleeping was ruled out in that instance.
Nielsen audience response ratings have used biometric data for a while, with the data collected in a lab, one participant at a time. 20th Century Fox is apparently the first film studio to use the technology and to use it on a group of audience members, a direct result of the cost effectiveness of wearable technology compared to laboratory methods.
The studio marketing department is using the data is to choose trailer material, but you know just some that some suit somewhere is going to sit a director down at some point and dictate what’s going to be in the final cut.