‘Star Wars’ #1 Film of 2015 Thanks to YouTube, Instagram and Twitter

Comic-Con 2015 photos
Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

In addition to breaking records at the box office, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” also dominated digital this year, ranking as the #1 film of 2015. With over 280 million engagements across platforms, “Star Wars” trumps every other 2015 release by nearly 100 million.

The No. 2 film of the year, “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” tracks with only 189 million engagements to date.

The top three sources of engagement for “Star Wars” throughout the campaign were YouTube (66%), Instagram (15%), and Twitter (7%) — also the three channels where “Star Wars” led every other 2015 release. As expected, the film’s trailers were exceptionally popular on YouTube, while Instagram and Twitter followers gravitated to short video uploads and poster releases.

Facebook and Tumblr are the only platforms where “the force” was unable to lead the year. The strength of religious films on Facebook propelled “God’s Not Dead” to the top of the leaderboard, while Marvel was undefeated on Tumblr thanks to “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

Each week Variety publishes ListenFirst Digital Audience Ratings (DAR) – Film, a measurement of fan engagement across all the major digital platforms as it relates to film (see the TV version here). Provided by ListenFirst Media, DAR – Film measures what entertainment content is resonating most across Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube and Wikipedia combined. For more on the methodology behind DAR, scroll to the bottom of the article.

Digital Audience Ratings (DAR) – Film
Weekly Top 5 Wednesday Dec 16, 2015 – Tuesday Dec 22, 2015

1 4 Star Wars: The Force Awakens 21,593
2 Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them 8,213
3 1 X-Men: Apocalypse 7,401
4 3 Star Trek Beyond 5,826
5 Kung Fu Panda 3 3,405

First time on the chart
Pinnacle Rank

Trending Wednesday Dec 16, 2015 – Tuesday Dec 22, 2015

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot 2,581 +35,610%
Eddie the Eagle 869 +7,733%
Gods of Egypt 2,288 +1,425%


Jason Klein is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of ListenFirst Media, a data and analytics company providing insights for brands. ListenFirst aggregates data streams from a wide range of digital, social, and traditional marketing sources to help brands optimize business performance.


ListenFirst Digital Audience Ratings (DAR) – Film are a raw aggregate of daily engagements based on owned, earned and organic consumer behavior on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Wikipedia and YouTube. These engagements encompass metrics pertaining to audience growth, page/profile views, page-level and post-level interactions, hashtag volume and Wikipedia page views for all film pages (which provides a proxy for organic search volume).

Organic conversation volume is calculated based on the use of official hashtags, as well as those hashtags submitted directly from distributors. Only hashtags where conversation can be isolated to a specific film are included in the rating.

The Variety Weekly Top 5 and Trending leaderboards for film represent the 7-day (Wednesday – Tuesday) sum total of DAR for all US Domestic Films that have been publicly announced and slated for a commercial theatrical release. Films are rated daily from initial public announcement through 4 weeks post home entertainment street date. Festival films and other films not slated for a commercial theatrical release are excluded from this ranking cohort but available to be rated directly by ListenFirst Media.

The Trending leaderboard surfaces the three films that tracked the largest relative growth in DAR (from the previous 7-day measurement period), and are also in the top 25% based on absolute DAR.

ListenFirst monitors the official digital account owned by the film on each aforementioned platform (except for Wikipedia, where the title-specific profile is considered official). Only the U.S. version of a film’s digital presence is monitored; for platforms that support regional profiles like Facebook, the “Global” profile is considered the U.S. profile. Only profiles that can be attributed to the specific film contribute to the rating (i.e. engagements that happen on the profile facebook.com/ArgoMovie are tracked, while engagements that happen on facebook.com/WarnerBrosPictures are not). For YouTube, in addition to any film-specific presence, content related to the film in question that originated on the parent company’s official YouTube channel is considered.

For other questions pertaining to methodology, contact ListenFirst Media.

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  1. Mr Furious says:

    How to make a successful movie in the 21st Century:
    Step 1) watch a movie from the 20th Century
    Step 2) copy that movie note for note
    Step 3) count your money

    • gary says:

      By all means, feel free to write something better.

    • And with THAT much social media behind it (and mainstream hype that always follows) how will any film miss at the box office? At the least on the opening weekend.

      • gary says:

        A billion dollars worldwide in what will be about a week has nothing to do with “at least on the opening weekend.” I love all the d-bags who are so determined to discount the success of this movie. Oh, yeah, it was social media that’s gonna make people worldwide spend over 2 billion on a movie. Give me a break.

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