Total tweets for January 22nd Openers

upcoming012910.jpgEdge of Darkness had 545 tweets reference it yesterday on Twitter, a very solid start to the week. In terms of comparison, Law Abiding Citizen had 623 tweets on its Monday before release, Surrogates had 452, and Armored had 173. Overall this is a very solid opening day count, and given a standard week trajectory it could be looking at ~3,000 tweets for the week. Assuming a ratio in the region of ~450 it looks to be on course for a ~$7 million opening day. I'll insert my usual disclaimer of it being early days, but based on Monday it definitely looks good.

When In Rome started slowly on Monday as it managed an underwhelming 272 tweets. Like I said in my preview column yesterday I don't think there has been a good comparison for this film in the last few months since I've been following Tweets closely but for giggles lets look at some of the older skewing romantic comedies that have opened: Love Happens had 177 tweets on its Monday before release, Everybody's Fine had 93, and Did You Hear About the Morgans? had 159. I had thought that Rome would have appealed to a much younger audience in general than the above comparisons but perhaps its closer than I had realized. In addition, due to its generic(ish) name I had to use a search filter ("When in Rome" movie OR poster OR trailer OR screening OR josh OR kristin OR bell OR see
) which will no doubt exclude some relevant tweets. At any rate, we are looking at about ~2,000 tweets for the week at this pace which is very low all things considered. Check back tomorrow to see if it picks up and has a greater explosion during the week than average, but as of now a $3 million Friday and high single digit weekend seems to be on the cards at best.

Check back tomorrow to see the Tuesday numbers and more comparisons.

Twitter tracking history. (For 2009's ratio history please check here.)

alltweets012210.jpgThe ratio is the number of tweets per $1 million of Friday Box Office gross. A film with 1,000 tweets and a $10 million Friday would therefore have a ratio of 100. In general, films that appeal to very young or older audiences have lower ratios since those audiences are not big users of Twitter. By comparison, films that appeal to younger audiences (18-35) have much higher ratios since those audiences are much more active users of Twitter.

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San Francisco-Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:DLB) announced today that Dolby 3D Digital Cinema has been selected to screen the World Premiere of Mark Lewis' documentary Cane Toads: The Conquest in 3D at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. The documentary from Australian writer/producer/director Lewis will also be presented in Dolby Digital Surround Sound to deliver audiences an immersing entertainment experience as the director intended. The film, a Participant Media, Discovery Studios, Screen Australia, and Radio Pictures presentation, is the first specialty documentary produced in 3D. The documentary will be presented at 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 26th and again at 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday, January 27th at Park City's Eccles Auditorium.

"The Sundance Film Festival was very pleased with the entertainment experience Dolby 3D and Dolby Surround Sound brought to the success of the U2 3D premiere in 2008," said Sarah Pearce, Director of Operations, Sundance Film Festival. "The audience actually felt like they were at a U2 concert. In addition, Dolby's eco-conscious solution appeals to Sundance as the high-quality, reusable Dolby 3D glasses deliver both an enhanced and environmentally friendly 3D viewing experience."

Dolby 3D uses a unique color filtering technology that provides realistic color reproduction and extremely sharp images without the use of a silver screen; delivering a fantastic 3D experience. The Dolby 3D filter wheel is inserted into the light path before the image is formed, providing a stable and sharp picture. Furthermore, the Dolby 3D filter wheel inside the projector easily moves out of the light path allowing the Sundance Film Festival the flexibility to show both 2D and 3D movies in the same auditorium.

"Dolby 3D continues to be the solution of choice for prestigious events like the Sundance Film Festival that value a quality 3D presentation for its patrons," said Page Haun, Senior Director of Marketing, Cinema Segment, Dolby Laboratories. "Be it Avatar's global premiere, U2 3D at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or the latest 3D content at Comic-Con 2009, Dolby delivers premium quality 3D and immersing surround sound to audiences who love entertainment."

To ensure everyone in Park City's Eccles 1200-seat auditorium enjoys the full Dolby 3D experience, Dolby Production Services teamed up with Barco to provide two DP-3000 digital cinema projectors, dual stacked (side by side). The Barco projectors are Digital Cinema Initiatives compliant and feature Texas Instruments' Digital Light ProcessingTM digital cinema technology to deliver the best combination of brightness, image sharpness, and color accuracy to every seat in the auditorium.

"Working with Russell Allen of Dolby Production Services and the team from Barco at the Eccles Auditorium set-up was a delight," said Mark Lewis, writer, producer, and director of Cane Toads: The Conquest. "They not only managed to make my toads look beautiful in Dolby 3D, but they made them sing in Dolby Surround Sound."

For a complete list of Dolby Digital Cinema and Dolby 3D Digital Cinema locations, please click here.

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This upcoming weekend we have two new wide release openers in Edge of Darkness, and When In Rome. Will Mel Gibson's gritty action-thriller or Kristen Bell's romantic comedy be enough to surpass Avatar? Let's see how they both fared on Twitter last week.

upcoming012910.jpgEdge of Darkness had a very solid 1,168 tweets last week. I'd expect its core demographic to be males over 35, but much of its breakout potential will be linked to if Mel Gibson can still offer crossover appeal to older women as well. In terms of comparisons, I think the best yardstick would be Law Abiding Citizen which had 902 tweets its week prior to release. As such, right off the bat it appears to be primed for high teens to low twenties opening weekend.

When In Rome had 865 tweets reference it last week on Twitter. In terms of comparisons, there have surprisingly been no young skewing romantic comedies in the last few months, while there were five targeted at older audiences: Love Happens, The Invention of Lying, Everybody's Fine, Did You Hear About the Morgans and It's Complicated. Unfortunately I don't think any of these five will offer great insights into this film's potential since its target audience of young women 15-30 make up the core demographic of Twitter. As such, expect a ratio of 1,000+ here, maybe even 1,500+. Low double digits seems likely at this point.

Check back Monday night for analysis of the Monday tweet totals.

Twitter tracking history. (For 2009's ratio history please check here.)

alltweets012210.jpg

The ratio is the number of tweets per $1 million of Friday Box Office gross. A film with 1,000 tweets and a $10 million Friday would therefore have a ratio of 100. In general, films that appeal to very young or older audiences have lower ratios since those audiences are not big users of Twitter. By comparison, films that appeal to younger audiences (18-35) have much higher ratios since those audiences are much more active users of Twitter.

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Extraordinary Measures opened to a scant $2.04 million on Friday, way below my estimated $3.5 million. Its weekend ratio of 1,228 turned out to be almost double my estimated 700. Obviously the premiere had a large effect on the ratio since its target audience was primarily older and outside of the Twitter sweet spot.

Legion was the strongest of the new openers, coming in with $6.70 million on Friday. This was right in line with my estimated $6 million. Its opening ratio of 581 was very low for the genre, but as mentioned on Friday I thought that the filter used to zero in on actual tweets referencing the film would cut down on the standard ratio.

Lastly, The Tooth Fairy opened with $3.50 million on Friday, a ways below my predicted $5.5 million. Its ratio of 491 meant that it played to older audiences then I had imagined and was much more in line with last week's The Spy Next Door than it was with recent animated films.

Check back tomorrow for a preview of the upcoming weekend's wide release films: Edge of Darkness, and When In Rome.

Twitter tracking history. (For 2009's ratio history please check here.)

alltweets012210.jpg

The ratio is the number of tweets per $1 million of Friday Box Office gross. A film with 1,000 tweets and a $10 million Friday would therefore have a ratio of 100. In general, films that appeal to very young or older audiences have lower ratios since those audiences are not big users of Twitter. By comparison, films that appeal to younger audiences (18-35) have much higher ratios since those audiences are much more active users of Twitter.

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The methodology used here borrows from that used by DP07 and Xiayun over at the now defunct World of KJ Yahoo Review thread. In a nutshell, they theorized and proved that the number of reviews on the Yahoo website on opening day could be used to predict the opening day Box Office number. My work here is similar, but looks at tweets from the days, weeks, months and sometimes even years prior to release.

The methodology is as follows:

Record all tweets for a film from the day its release is announced to opening day.
Filter out garbage posts not related to the film or spam.
Obtain ratios for # of total tweets to Friday/weekend box office.

Simple enough right? Only problem is the sheer volume of tweets, the number of garbage tweets not related to the film (especially with a very generic movie title like "Fame"), and difficult to spell titles that lead to common typos. To get around this I have had to get creative with search filters and a lot of manual eyeballing of data to fine tune them.

Is it foolproof? No, obviously some people might be atrocious spellers and I might not search for all possible typos, or some people might reference the movie by the actors involved ("going to see the new Bale flick tonight."). But my hypothesis is that it will all even out per film. Twitter is by no means a representative sample of the population, BUT, it is a pretty consistent sample, and through following it over many weeks and months clear patterns should emerge once I keep in mind genre, appeal and the wider environment (ie. holidays, midnight screenings etc. that will affect tweet totals).

Since I first came up with the idea and began gathering data back in September of 2009, we have refined ours tools here at Box Office and I now have access to positive and negative tweets by title, tweet data for every day of the week and from the day a movie is announced for wide release its tweets are tracked. As time goes on the formula expands and I have been able to incorporate more sophisticated methods of analysis, all which afford me greater accuracy and insight into buzz.

In general over the last four and a half years the number of tweets by title have increased dramatically as Twitter's popularity for movie discussion has taken off amongst its users and as marketing teams have embraced the power of social media in general and focused advertising campaigns on them.

Two concepts which are core to our work are Ratios and how Twitter is used by different demographics:

The ratio is the number of tweets per $1 million of Friday Box Office gross over a defined period. A film with 1,000 tweets from Monday to Thursday and a $10 million Friday would therefore have a ratio of 100. In general, films that appeal to very young or older audiences have lower ratios since those audiences are not big users of Twitter. By comparison, films that appeal to younger audiences (18-35) have much higher ratios since those audiences are much more active users of Twitter. The tweets used for these ratio calculations are always all tweets from Monday to Thursday of the release week, or for Wednesday openers I use Monday to Tuesday.

The main goal is to come up with a solid tweets to box office ratio by genre and audience for films. Why on earth is this important? Well, cause I'm a numbers geek and it interests me to combine my social media and Box Office passions. But it will also predict flops from further away and help to mine diamonds in the rough that will overperform. I have learned a lot since 2009 about the Twitter landscape as it pertains to movies and how it has and is continually shifting as usage shifts for all parties involved, the perpetual goal is to be a viable source of advance tracking outside of traditional methods. 

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