×

Twitter Study: Box-Office Hits Have 150% More Tweets From Movie Talent

Wall Street has soured on Twitter and its stagnating user growth, but the social-media company is hoping new research convinces Hollywood that tweets from a film’s talent are a great promotional vehicle.

Twitter teamed with analytics firm Crimson Hexagon to analyze tweets for 33 movies released in 2015, spanning each film’s lifecycle from trailer release to post-premiere. The films included 15 “over-performers,” which had an average box-office-to-budget ratio of 2.5, and 18 “under-performers,” with a B.O./budget ratio of 0.5.

The key findings: Over-performing movies had 150% more posts on Twitter than the pics that bombed, among the films analyzed. Overall, movies that had talent who were active on Twitter saw a 326% boost in average daily volume of conversation on the service, compared with those whose actors or directors did not have Twitter accounts.

“It’s a powerful story to tell: Having your cast on Twitter does boost the overall conversation about your movie,” said Rachel Dodes, head of film partnerships for Twitter.

In addition, over-performers had more upbeat buzz on Twitter early on. Positive sentiment around over-performers during trailer releases made up 39% of the conversation on Twitter, compared with 19% for under-performers, according to the study.

However, despite the implication that having movie stars on Twitter can yield bigger box office results, Dodes acknowledged that there’s no real way to prove there’s a causal link. For one thing, successful movies would naturally produce more engagement on social networks — not that the chatter necessarily pushes fans into theaters. “There are a whole host of reasons contributing to box office results, and we’d hesitate to suggest causality,” she said.

Another caveat: Twitter’s study excluded movies with budgets over $100 million. That’s because blockbusters have heavy marketing spend, and that makes the link to social activity muddier, according to Dodes. “Word of mouth becomes more important for lower-budget movies,” she said.

Twitter didn’t disclose the list of 33 films it looked at, but said Amy Schumer comedy “Trainwreck” and “Straight Outta Compton” from Ice Cube and Dr. Dre were among the over-performers in the study — and both used talent on Twitter to tubthump the releases.

For example, Schumer (3.6 million Twitter followers) released the “Trainwreck” trailer exclusively on Twitter in February 2015. That was retweeted by NBA star LeBron James (27.8 million followers), who appears in the movie.

“Trainwreck,” released last July, had an estimated production budget of $35 million and grossed $110 million domestically, per Box Office Mojo. “Compton” raked in $161 million on a $28 million budget.

Bottom line: Having actors and other talent promote their movie on social media certainly can’t hurt. “If you were considering hiring actors, you would want to watch their previous work, talk to their agents, speak to people they’ve worked with and get an impression of them,” said Matthew Marolda, chief analytics officer at Legendary Pictures. “Why wouldn’t you also analyze their presence on Twitter to learn how people discuss them and the tone and tenor of the conversation around them, and then assess whether they fit with the kind of film we’re considering?”

There are other examples of movie bizzers using Twitter as a promo megaphone. In October 2014, director Paul Feig used Twitter to announce the “Ghostbusters” reboot, the casting announcements and scenes from set.

J.J. Abrams used Twitter to promote Disney’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”:

And Ryan Reynolds last week engaged in a Twitter Q&A from the company’s HQ in San Francisco to promote 20th Century Fox’s “Deadpool”:

For the fourth quarter of 2015, Twitter’s monthly active users declined by about 2 million, to 305 million worldwide. In the U.S., MAUs declined sequentially for the first time, from 66 million to 65 million. Twitter chief Jack Dorsey has promised changes to make the service easier to use, and the company this week introduced a new timeline feature that shows recent tweets most relevant to users at the top of their timeline.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • homepod-white-shelf

    Apple Said to Prep Cheaper HomePod for 2020

    Apple is getting ready to introduce a cheaper version of its HomePod smart speaker in 2020, Bloomberg reported Thursday. The company is also working on a new version of its AirPod headphones for next year, according to Bloomberg. Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The new version of the HomePod is said [...]

  • Eminem’s Publisher Sues Spotify, Claiming Copyright

    Eminem’s Publisher Sues Spotify, Claiming Massive Copyright Infringement

    Eminem’s publishing company Eight Mile Style filed a major copyright infringement lawsuit against Spotify late Thursday, claiming that the streaming giant has no license to host about 250 of Eminem’s songs, while also taking aim at the Music Modernization Act, the federal law enacted last year to improve royalty payments for songwriters. The news was [...]

  • iQIYI headquarters building in Beijing

    China’s iQIYI in Talks for Indonesia Expansion

    Chinese streaming firm iQIYI is in negotiations to expand further into Southeast Asia through a venture with Indonesia’s Media Nusantara Citra. iQIYI announced its first step outside Chinese-majority territories in June, when it revealed a linkup in Malaysia with pay-TV leader Astro. It also operates in Taiwan. In April, the company said that it planned [...]

  • Spotify logo is presented on a

    Spotify Triples Free-Trial Period on Premium Service

    Spotify today extended the free-trial period for its Premium service from one month to three, tripling the amount of time listeners can take full advantage of the streaming giant’s offerings without paying for them. According to the announcement, the offer is “always-on/not limited time,” and will roll out across Spotify Premium plans globally: Individual and [...]

  • Moviepass

    MoviePass Confirms Security Lapse May Have Exposed Customer Credit Card Data

    MoviePass, the struggling movie ticket subscription service, confirmed that a security issue may have exposed customers’ records online, including credit card info. In a statement, MoviePass said Wednesday that the security lapse was recently discovered and its system was immediately secured. News of the data breach was first reported Tuesday by TechCrunch, which alleged that [...]

  • Tycho weather app

    This Website Creates Spotify & Apple Music Playlists Based on Your Local Weather

    Electronica musician Tycho launched a clever promotional website for his new album “Weather” this week: Visitors of Tycho’s website can use a web app to generate a playlist based on their local weather. Playlists can be saved to both Spotify and Apple Music, and consist of 25 songs, both from Tycho’s catalog as well as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content