Does digital data offer indicators that can be used to monitor marketing effectiveness and predict box office success even before awareness turns into intent? Movie Pilot – 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.
If ever a movie deserved a sequel in recent times, it’s James Wan’s smash hit “The Conjuring,” which scared audiences and critics alike, spawning spinoff “Annabelle” and now another movie of its own lineage. This time Wan revisits the case files of the Warrens and transports us to London to investigate “The Enfield Poltergeist.”
While sequels have been made to suffer this year, “The Conjuring 2” looks like it has the chops to fare well – it’s scored a deluge of tweets, trailer views and positive sentiments from both critics and fans, and it’s also the first big horror movie to open in quite some time. We’ve seen a lot of micro-budget hits, but nothing on this many screens. We wouldn’t expect “The Conjuring 2” to open too close to its predecessor, rather closer to the realm of “The Purge: Anarchy” and its cousin “Annabelle,” which both topped $30 million.
Wan has built quite the name for himself over the past few years, partly thanks to his success with the original movie, and he’s put his full social media weight behind this project. Wan has taken part in a Twitter Q&A alongside countless personal appearances and Instagram posts. The digital campaign also sought to get fans involved with the #ConjureYourScare activation, where fans could share their own reactions to the trailer’s scariest moments.
Popular on Variety
“Warcraft” has already had a monstrous start overseas, amassing almost $200 million so far and dominating in China – that alone goes to demonstrate the massive popularity of the Blizzard Entertainment video game on which the movie is based.
Success abroad alleviates some of the pressure on the domestic performance and it’s interesting to see how things will pan out for this adaptation as gaming audiences are hard to motivate to come out to theaters. “Hardcore Henry” heavily targeted gamers earlier this year, but came in under modest expectations. After “Warcraft” there are plenty of video adaptations on the horizon, including “Assassins’ Creed” from 20th Century Fox. So far, things are looking good in this department.
Aside from hardcore gaming fans, it’s younger, family and fantasy audiences who will help make or break “Warcraft,” as shown by a heavy presence on Snapchat where younger audiences can be readily engaged, and a real life “capture the flag” battle on YouTube. “Warcraft” started strongly last night and could top our expectation of a $28 million opening.
“Now You See Me 2,” Lionsgate/Summit
Moviepilot Prediction: $25 million
This week’s second sequel is “Now You See Me 2,” looking to build on the surprise success of the original from three years ago. Again, while it has been a tough year for most sequels without spandex-clad heroes, “Now You See Me 2” looks like it should hold up well.
The heart of the digital effort has been the #LookCloser campaign, featuring visual tricks and an in-depth look at the art of magic, alongside a contest encouraging fans to upload their own magic tricks. The coolest element of the campaign was the “NYSM2 Mobile Magic” mobile app, which isn’t just an app, but also stands on its own as an augment reality interactive feature, a real sleight-of-hand instructional video resource (created in partnership with magic experts and NYSM2 consultants Theory 11) and a fun “3 card monte” mini-game.
Super fans were rewarded with an immersive experience on the official site, scrolling through to gradually unfold more content pieces. They were also able to enter a contest by engaging with the trailer through a Shazam integration, and they need no encouragement to play with the movie’s Snapchat lens which went live on Thursday. Buzzfeed also produced a cool video showcasing amazing kid magicians.
Most of the cast members return and there have been some new additions, including Dave Franco. Daniel Radcliffe took part in a Q&A as a “Now You See Me 2” Twitter Moment, while others stars like Mark Ruffalo have been DubSmashing the film’s best lines. All in, “Now You See Me 2” will likely pull in a total in the mid-20s.
Phil Walden is Director of Digital Strategy at Movie Pilot, a social media driven movie community reaching 15 million users every month. Based on community data, Movie Pilot helps studios to optimize their digital media campaigns, identifying, analyzing and activating the right audiences. The company works with studios like Focus Features, 20th Century Fox, Sony and A24.