You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Digital Tracking: The Future of ‘Tomorrowland’ at the Box Office

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 should be at their peak.


Tomorrowland, Disney
Moviepilot 3-day Prediction: $38 million

Inspired by the perennial Walt Disney World favorite attraction, “Tomorrowland” takes us to a place where nothing is impossible. The movie was shrouded in mystery for some time, but later trailers revealed a fun-filled romp that has something for everyone.

“Tomorrowland’s” marketing has been as futuristic as its premise, with an interactive site allowing you to explore the world of the movie, and a partnership with Shazam allowing users to unlock exclusive content if they scan a “Tomorrowland” image with their mobile device. The blue carpet premiere was also streamed live on Periscope, with Vine influencers in attendance. Even a special Minecraft world was created just for the movie to appeal to younger audiences.

“Tomorrowland” has built solid stats, with almost 200,000 tweets and over 100,000 searches this week, as well as over 50 million lifetime trailer views over Facebook and YouTube. Both “Cinderella” and “Maleficent” opened just short of $70 million with around 350,000 tweets, so stacking “Tomorrowland” up against those two movies sees it set for a total in the high $30s to low $40s for the weekend.

Popular on Variety


Poltergeist, 20th Century Fox
Moviepilot 3-day Prediction: $23 million
*Full Disclosure: Moviepilot worked with 20th Century Fox on this title*

Poltergeist” is Sam Raimi’s updated take on the horror classic. The original commented on the effect of TV on society, and today’s world is packed with even more screens, with every home full of mobile phones, tablets and even bigger TVs than before.

“Poltergeist” has used these screens and social media to scare younger moviegoers into theaters this weekend with a wide-reaching digital campaign. The social media strategy has focused around the hashtag #whatareyouafraidof, with influencers sharing what scares them across social and Whisper users confessing their innermost fears. Tumblr influencers also created content to share on the Poltergeist tumblr page.

“Poltergeist” has leveraged the newest platforms available, streaming an interactive experience live through Periscope, as well as creating a spooky Snapchat account and serving ads to users through the Discover section. “Poltergeist” also produced an interactive map of reported supernatural activity so users can investigate whether they’re living in a Poltergeist hotspot, as well as a prank real-estate listing for the haunted house from the movie.

Stats-wise, “Poltergeist” looks set for a three-day total in the mid-$20s, with 100,000 tweets putting it well-ahead of two other PG-13 horror movies from earlier this year: “The Woman in Black 2,” which opened to $15 million with 44,200 tweets, and “The Lazarus Effect,” which started with $10.2 million off the back of 26,000 tweets.


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 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 towards 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.


More Digital

  • Morning Show Apple

    Golden Globe Noms: 'The Morning Show' Turns Apple TV Plus Into a Kudos Contender

    “Euphoric” was the word to describe the atmosphere around the Apple TV Plus offices in Culver City, Calif., on Monday morning as staffers awoke to the news that the fledgling service’s cornerstone drama series, “The Morning Show,” had landed three major Golden Globe Award nominations. Apple Worldwide Video had exactly two employees — heads Jamie [...]

  • Game of Thrones Avengers Endgame

    'Game of Thrones,' 'Avengers: Endgame' Among Most Popular Tweets of 2019

    Twitter released its top-trending topics and tweets of 2019 with “Game of Thrones,” “Avengers: Endgame,” and actor Tom Holland commanding the most tweets in the TV, movies, and actors categories. BTS holds both the No. 1 spot in the most-tweeted-about musicians category and the second-most-retweeted tweet worldwide. Since its release in June, a video of [...]

  • Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his side's

    Canal Plus, beIN Sports In Exclusive Talks For Distribution Deal

    Vivendi-owned pay-TV banner Canal Plus Group and the global network beIN Sports have started exclusive talks to sign a five-year exclusive distribution and sub-licensing deal in France. The two companies previously tried to forge a partnership in 2016 but it was denied by France’s anti-trust board. Under the proposed deal, Canal Plus would distribute all [...]

  • NBCUniversal Peacock

    Comcast to Spend $2 Billion on NBCU's Peacock Streaming Service in First Two Years

    Comcast expects to pump $2 billion into NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service in aggregate over 2020 and 2021, while the company is projecting it will not be profitable for the first five years, according to CFO Mike Cavanagh. Cavanagh, who provided the details Monday at UBS’s Global TMT Conference in New York City, tried to put [...]

  • Watcher Entertainment - Steven Lim, Ryan

    Ex-BuzzFeed Video Staffers Launch Watcher Entertainment Digital Studio (EXCLUSIVE)

    UPDATED: After building their careers as internet personalities at BuzzFeed, the creators and hosts of three of the company’s biggest shows — Steven Lim, Ryan Bergara and Shane Madej — have formed their own digital-video venture. They quit BuzzFeed earlier this year and founded L.A.-based Watcher Entertainment, with the trio looking to get full creative [...]

  • 25. Oktober 2019, Berlin, Deutschland, JustWatch[Foto:

    Streaming Guide JustWatch Acquires Video Search Engine GoWatchIt (EXCLUSIVE)

    Berlin-based streaming guide JustWatch has acquired media search engine GoWatchIt from Plexus Entertainment, and is using the acquisition to open up its first office in New York. Terms of the deal, which was stock- and cash-based, haven’t been disclosed. GoWatchIt founder and CEO David Larkin will join JustWatch as its new senior vice president of [...]

  • CBS Joins Open AP Audience-Targeting Alliance

    CBS Joins Open AP Audience-Targeting Alliance

    “Young Sheldon” leads CBS’ Thursday-night schedule. Soon it may help to lead advertisers to a new way of placing their commercials. CBS has joined “Open AP,” the audience-targeting alliance working to accelerate the emerging advertising practice known as “audience buying.” Open AP works to give advertisers a way to buy impressions from particular types of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content