Neuroimaging research suggests that watching a movie synchronizes
brain activity between observers. This is surprising in light of anecdotal
reports that viewers construct their experience radically differently, consistent
with contemporary cognitive media theory. This article empirically tests
the degree of agreement in the appraisal of commercially produced major
motion pictures. Ratings for more than two hundred carefully selected movies
were solicited from a diverse pool of more than three thousand study participants.
Doing so shows that intersubjective movie appraisal is strikingly low
but significantly different from zero. The article also shows that these ratings
correlate only weakly with the judgment of professional movie critics. Taken together,
this study supports the notion that movies are an extremely rich, highly
dimensional narrative stimulus with many degrees of freedom for viewers to
construct their subjective experience in a highly idiosyncratic fashion.