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 should be at their peak.
“Jurassic World,” Universal
Moviepilot Prediction: $125 million
“Jurassic World” is set for a box office weekend as monstrous as its subject matter, devouring everything in its wake on its way to a total well over $100 million. That would see it claim third place for 2015 behind “Furious 7” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” and beat out “Man of Steel” for the highest June opening of all time ($116 million in 2013).
“Jurassic World” has activated fans of the franchise on Twitter with #JurassicChat, which encouraged fans to share their favorite memories from the first movie while it screened on TV. “Jurassic World” also built an official site that acts as if it is the online home for a real life theme park, with details on attractions, wait times and a map of attractions, as well as integrated media from Google Photo (with the official Tumblr providing more information on the film).
The returning dinosaurs have stirred up a maelstrom of social activity. Anticipation has been fevered since the first trailer debuted, and “Jurassic World” went on from there to amass an enormous 167 million YouTube views in addition to 106 million on Facebook. “Jurassic World” has driven a gigantic 615,000 tweets, which in 2015 is a total that’s third only to “Ultron” with 1.58 million tweets and “Furious 7” with 1.15 million tweets. “Jurassic World” comes in second to “Ultron” on search volume but outdoes “Furious 7,” with the dinos netting 365,000 searches to “Furious 7’s” 360,000, both in the shadow of “Ultron’s” 1.3 million searches. All told, “Jurassic World” is set for a huge total of about $125 million for the weekend.
Tobias Bauckhage (@tbauckhage) is co-founder and CEO of moviepilot.com, a social-media-driven movie community reaching over 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 Universal, 20th Century Fox and A24.
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 grown 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.