Nearly 1 in 3 HuffPo Education posts references ‘Waiting for Superman’

The documentary film Waiting for Superman debuted on September 24, 2010. To date it has only grossed $2.7 million at the box office.

Just in case you were wondering, however, between September 24 and October 20 there have been 246 posts made in the Huffington Post Education section. Of those posts, 76 of them (31%) have referenced the film in one way, shape, or form. The percentage of celebrity and/or politician posts at HuffPo that have referenced the film? Much, much higher.

A Google search brings up nearly 25 million results. In contrast, a search for NBC’s recent Education Nation series only brings up about 120,000.

What do you think is going on here? An outsized impact for a small documentary?


9 Responses to “Nearly 1 in 3 HuffPo Education posts references ‘Waiting for Superman’”

  1. This is easily explained by several events:

    1) The education section is brand new
    2) It is sponsored by “Waiting for Superman”
    3) “Waiting for Superman” is being used as a weapon against public education and hyped by incredibly powerful interests.
    4) Each article referencing the film begets others offering a different take.

    However, it would be a HUGE mistake to believe the BS that “Waiting for Superman” is a hit. Please read “The Market Speaks” to put this in proper perspective.

  2. What’s going on is that bloggers who want to promote themselves do so by latching on to something that is already popular (or, at least, heavily marketed) in the hopes of basking in some reflected glory.

  3. A better comparison would be WfS’s performance versus a similar intellectually oriented film by the same filmmaker that has driven public opinion, “An Inconvenient Truth.” Here’s links to the weekly performance of each. Note also the weekly ranking of the films at the box office: compare and contrast the similar numbers. Also notable that “truth” was released in June, peak moviegoing time:

    Documentaries are rarely box office gold, because they are not the escapist entertainment that the masses look for. They are written about in the press because they’re intellectually provocative (you think “Jackass 3d” holds up to intellectual scrutiny?) WfS has just started a wide release, and will continue to drive opinion about 21st century schools and education. This will increase as it makes its way to DVD (the real profit center of the film) and into people’s homes for private viewing.

  4. Followup: “An Inconvenient Truth” was -widely- released in June. It had a similar limited premiere as WfS. Whether that has worked to create a demand to see the movie is to be determined.

  5. I blogged my opinion about the effect of the film here

    To summarize I think it is a popular topic in the edublogosphere only and not with the average American or even the average teacher.

  6. In the long run the influence of this movie will be determined not by how many people see it but by the way it effects people who can actually make a difference in education. Or who can influence other people who can make a difference. The movie may be like a lot of books that no one reads but everyone talks about, quotes (in or out of context) and that has an influence greater than its readership. So far the movie has had a polarizing effect, much like “An Inconvenient Truth”, and it is not clear to me that this is a good thing for either side. It seems we have a lot of people on both sides talking but not a lot of dialogue. Dialogue is what we actually need more than preaching.

  7. I’m sorry, why is it significant to cite a blog so obviously biased toward a singular political point of view?

    I guess is makes sense, since the film is so heavily biased toward a singular political pojnt of view.

  8. What’s stranger to me is that it was put into limited release at the end of September, and expanded on October 8, yet it is only playing in two theaters in all of Denver and surrounding areas. Perhaps the lack of actual screens may be why it hasn’t been seen by more people. As a new educator, I am very interested in seeing the film, despite the hype and biases.

  9. Theatres don’t want a turkey flopping on otherwise profitable screens.

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