No, this post isn’t about the movie, which I rather like. It’s about the book, first published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869.
As the story goes, neither the publisher nor Alcott, the author, were excited by this work. However, the publisher felt that the book was targeted to teens and young adults, and he needed to be fair in his evaluation. So he recruited a few young women to read the manuscript for the first volume. The reviews from this group were raves, and so he moved forward with publication.
The latest movie makes it seem that the reviewers were the publisher’s own children, but other source suggest a slightly larger test. Either way, this is one of the earliest examples I’ve encountered of applied market research.
Without that primitive but effective market research, the world would not have the book and its sequels, and the movie(s) wouldn’t exist, and a remarkable story would never have been told.
By the way, the movie, which opened on Christmas Day, contains remarkable acting and incredible attention to historical detail. Really quite good, although the perhaps overuse of dream sequences and flashbacks may annoy some viewers.
Happy New Year!