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Digital Tracking: ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Puts N.W.A at No. 1

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.

Straight Outta Compton,” Universal
Moviepilot Prediction: $51 million

The box office is about to witness the strength of street knowledge. “Straight Outta Compton,” the biopic about the world’s most dangerous group, N.W.A, is riding into theaters armed with massive amounts of social chatter and a distinctive viral marketing campaign to boot.

If you’ve been on any social-media platform over the past couple of weeks, you are certain to have encountered the “Straight Outta Somewhere” meme, based on the title treatment of the movie. Launched in partnership with Dr. Dre’s Beats, the meme generator has been used more than 6 million times, with the images spreading far and wide via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter — the hashtag #straightoutta has been used over 250,000 times in the last week (not included in the Tweet count above). The iconic slogan has connected with fans on a deeper level than most marketing campaigns, encouraging them to be proud of their roots rather than simply promoting a product.

Snapchat got in the game as well with “Straight Outta” geo-filters for users to layer over their snaps, and Giphy released a series of fabulous “Straight Outta Compton” themed gifs to celebrate the movie’s release. The campaign has driven a storm of social activity with almost 200,000 tweets and searches about the movie, no doubt spurred on by the release of Dr. Dre’s first album in years as a companion piece. This social pandemonium should see “Straight Outta Compton” clear $50 million for the weekend.

“The Man From U.N.C.L.E,” Warner Bros.
Moviepilot Prediction: $20 million

While “Straight Outta Compton” is swathed in street swagger, “The Man From U.N.C.L.E” brings a stylish ’60s chic to the party. Based on the classic TV show, Guy Ritchie brings us his own take on spy movies with fellow Brit Henry Cavill in the lead role.

The focus for the campaign has been on Cavill and his handsome co-star Armie Hammer, as well as the movie’s classic style and its leading ladies; “U.N.C.L.E” may very well have to cede the younger male audience to “Compton” and older males to Tom Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation,” which is still going strong. With 77,400 searches to the 135,000 clocked up by “M:I-RN,” “The Man From U.N.C.L.E” should be looking at a weekend around the $20 million mark.

Tobias Bauckhage (@tbauckhage) is co-founder and CEO of moviepilot.com, a social-media-driven movie community reaching more than 30 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 grew 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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