Digital Tracking: ‘Goosebumps’ to Bring Families of Fans to Theaters

How Moviepilot sees this week’s wide releases shaping up on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google

 Does digital data offer indicators that can be used to monitor marketing effectiveness and predict box office success even before awareness turns into intent? Moviepilot — which studies social data and box office trends — analyzes this weekend’s new movies across Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Google (the methodology behind the numbers is laid out in the appendix below) over the seven days leading up to their release, when marketing campaigns are at their peak.

Goosebumps,” Sony
Moviepilot Prediction: $22 million

R.L. Stine’s “Goosebumps” books were massively popular back at school and the movie will be looking to convert that enduring popularity into ticket sales to moviegoers young and old. For many fans, “Goosebumps” was a gateway into creepy stories and the horror genre, while the books are still loved by kids today.

In order to reach this varied audience, “Goosebumps” has employed a range of inventive tactics across different platforms, starting with a Twitter campaign where fans were asked to tweet to unlock the trailer. “Goosebumps” has been very active on Instagram to appeal to younger fans, as well as producing a video with VSauce and a Jack Black rap video. Fans also had the chance to dive into a scene from the movie in a virtual reality experience.

Family movies are tricky to get a read on as they must gain interest from kids as well as parents, but “Goosebumps” is shaping up well with over 20 million trailer views across Facebook and Twitter. Last year, “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” opened to $17 million with 32,000 tweets, so “Goosebumps” looks good for an opening in the high teens and maybe even over $20 million this weekend.

Crimson Peak,” Universal/Legendary
Moviepilot Prediction: $20 million

Crimson Peak” is Guillermo del Toro’s “gothic romance” dressed as a horror movie, with a star-studded cast including Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, and Tom Hiddleston. The campaign has highlighted the movie’s incredible visuals by pushing video heavily across all platforms, and targeted females with activity on Pinterest and Instagram. “Crimson Peak” has driven almost 100,000 tweets before release, which should see it come in with around $20 million for the weekend.

Bridge of Spies,” Disney
Moviepilot Prediction: $17 million

Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg reunite for the first time since “The Terminal” with “Bridge of Spies,” which by all accounts is another excellent entry in the legendary director’s canon. His last movie told the story of Abraham Lincoln, while this time Spielberg turns to tackling the Cold War in “Bridge of Spies.”

Recently “The Martian” enjoyed an incredible opening, and “Bridge of Spies” will be looking to attract the older audiences that made Ridley Scott’s movie such a hit, so we’d look to search metrics as the primary indicator for box office here. With almost 60,000 tweets, “Bridge of Spies” should be set for an opening in the high teens and impressive reviews should see it continue to perform well.

 

Tobias Bauckhage (@tbauckhage) is co-founder and CEO of moviepilot.com, a social-media-driven movie community reaching more than 29 million Facebook fans and 30 million monthly unique users. Based on community data, Moviepilot helps studios to optimize their social media campaigns, identifying, analyzing and activating the right audiences. The company works with studios like Focus Features, 20th Century Fox and A24.

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Appendix

Facebook fan (or like) numbers are a good indicator for fan awareness for a movie, even months before the release. For mainstream movies with younger target audiences, fan counts are particularly important. However, big fan numbers can be bought and movies with older target audiences typically have lower fan counts. Fan engagement measured by PTAT (People Talking About This) is a more precise but also a fickle indicator, heavily driven by content strategy and media spending. Both numbers are global and public-facing numbers from the official Facebook fanpage.

YouTube trailer counts are important for measuring early awareness about a movie. We track all English-language original video content about the movie on YouTube, down to videos with 100 views, whether they are officially published by a studio or published unofficially by fans. The Buzz ratio looks at the percentage of unique viewers on YouTube that have “liked” a video and given it a “thumbs up.” Movies with over 40 million views are usually mainstream and set to dominate the box office, while titles drawing around 10 million indicate a more specific audience. If a movie does not have a solid number of trailer views on YouTube four weeks before its release, it is not promising news. But again, it is important to understand whether trailer views have been bought or have grewn organically. These numbers are global and public-facing.

Twitter is a good real-time indicator of excitement and word of mouth, coming closer to release or following bigger PR stunts. Mainstream, comedy and horror titles all perform particularly strongly on Twitter around release. We count all tweets over the period of the last seven days before release (Friday through Thursday) that include the movie’s title plus a number of search words, e.g. “movie” OR a list of movie-specific hashtags. The numbers are global, conducted using a Twitter API partner service.

Search is a solid indicator for intent moving toward release as people actively seek out titles that they are aware of and are thinking about seeing. Search is particularly significant for fan-driven franchises and family titles as parents look for information about films they may take their children to see. We look at the last seven days (Friday  through Thursday) of global Wikipedia traffic as a conclusive proxy for Google Search volume. We have to consider that big simultaneous global releases tend to have higher search results compared to domestic releases.

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