Did Twitter kill 'Bruno'? Maybe not

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Twitter killed Bruno in 24-hours. Or did it?

Once the negative tweets starting pouring in from cinemagoers, the much anticipated docu-comedy by British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen (of Borat fame) never had a chance, says Richard Corliss, Time magazine's media critic. That, according to Corliss, caused the surprising drop in box-office numbers from Friday to Saturday during the opening weekend.

Corliss opined that lightning-fast communication and search technologies, like Twitter, were responsible for the dismal numbers posted by Bruno. "Instant-messaging can make or break a film within 24 hours. Friday is the new weekend," writes Corliss.

It's a nice theory, but is he right?

That's a tricky question to answer. Corliss' logic is quite plausible, but the evidence doesn't completely support his assertion. Out of 244 tweets containing the term "Bruno," Twitter sentiment tracker Tweetfeel tallied 68 percent positive sentiments for the movie based on somewhat crude semantic analysis of the content of the tweets.

However, when I started looking through the tweets, it appeared that a significant number of positive tweets actually were people expressing excitement about going to see the movie. And some of the tweets that were recorded as positive were actually quite negative, such as "I recommend bruno to fans of watching people get really uncomfortable over jokes about Hitler and killing Christians."

That said, in the final tally there seem to be an equal number of positive and negative comments. And many people expressed sentiment that Bruno was a movie they had to watch -- a "must-see" event that would leave them out of cocktail party conversations for at least the next week or so. In a nutshell, Twitter probably didn't kill Bruno. But Twitter certainly made him a little less appealing by broadcasting the true level of discomfort caused by the risque comedy of the film -- despite the hilarious and relatively inoffensive trailers.

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