Digital Tracking: ‘Spy’ Sets Sights on $41 Million Weekend

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

Digital Tracking: 'Spy' On Track for

Spy,” 20th Century Fox
Moviepilot Prediction: $41 million

Melissa McCarthy is becoming a hot box office commodity, and “Spy” is shaping up to be one of the biggest comedy openings this year. “Spy” partnered with Tinder to allow users to swipe right for a chance to go to a special screening of the movie and also produced a Spy-Dentity generator so anyone can become a secret agent.

“Spy” boasts more than twice the social stats of “Hot Pursuit,” which had 9 million views on YouTube and 27,700 on Search and went on to make $13.9 million on release. It also has a Search count just above 2013’s Melissa McCarthy-Sandra Bullock buddy comedy “The Heat,” which took in $39 million on release. Also taking into account its huge presence on Twitter (almost 200,000 tweets), “Spy” is looking at a $41 million opening this weekend.


Insidious: Chapter 3,” Focus Features
Moviepilot Prediction: $26 million
(Full disclosure: Moviepilot worked with Focus Features on this title)

The third installment in the “Insidious” series looks set for a strong start, pacing well ahead of “Ouija” and “Poltergeist” on Twitter — the key indicator for opening weekend performance for horror movies. Having generated well over 200,000 tweets, “Insidious: Chapter 3” looks poised to take in more than $25 million for the weekend, after Blumhouse’s “Ouija” came in just under the $20 million mark last year and, more recently, “Poltergeist” opened to $22.6 million.

The social campaign for “Insidious” has focused on reactivating the young fanbase that made the first two movies such a success and stressing the newer elements of this chapter, particularly with a kik activation playing off one of the movie’s creepiest scares. However, with “Spy” pulling so strongly with young female audiences as well as older ones, younger males could be the key demographic for “Insidious” this weekend.


“Entourage,” Warner Bros
Moviepilot 5-day Prediction: $22 million

The boys are finally back in town and have already started strong since their early bow on Wednesday night. The campaign has focused heavily on the return of our favorite characters, with Ari and friends doing a live Q&A from Twitter HQ and leveraging their own social accounts heavily. Mark Wahlberg has also weighed in to share videos on Facebook. Vinnie and the guys are rolling with around 60% the search volume of “Dumb and Dumber To,” which opened to $36.1 million, so we should see them top $20 million for the 5-day window.

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 including Focus Features, 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.