The Role of Network Embeddedness in Film Success
new product development
Finance and Financial Management
In the early stage of film development when producers assemble a development team, it is important to understand the means by which different team members may contribute to the film's box office. Building upon theories from marketing and sociology, we propose that these contributions arise from team members' positions, or embeddedness, in a social network weaved through past film collaborations. These collaborations provide team members with opportunities to draw knowledge and skills from the network for new film projects. Our conceptual framework accentuates two aspects of network embeddedness: positional embeddedness (PE)—how well a person is tied to well-connected others, and junctional embeddedness (JE)—the extent to which a person bridges sub-communities in the industry. We examine how the importance of PE and JE varies by functional role (cast versus crew), and is moderated by the film's studio affiliation. Analyzing more than 15,000 industry professionals over nearly two decades of film collaborations, this research reveals crucial and divergent relationships: while high PE is more valuable for the cast, high JE is critical for the crew. This role distinction also depends on a film's studio affiliation. Managerially, these findings provide guidance to film executives and producers in revenue maximization through strategic team assembly, and to talents in career management.