Tracking Social Buzz for the Summer Slate
As of press time, we’re gearing up for a big summer that will feature 42 wide releases from 24 different distributors, all vying for box office supremacy. Every year one of the most hotly debated topics is which films will break out and which will occupy the inevitable—and unenviable—flop positions. Pundits generally formulate their predictions based on a gut feel coupled with comparisons to past films, but this year we at Boxoffice Pro are leveraging the Facebook and Twitter returns for all 42 films to create our list of winners and losers.
Our methodology looked at the tally of all tweets for each summer-wide release from January 1 to late March and paired that with the total gain in Facebook likes over the same period. The one caveat is that while we have complete Twitter data for all films, 7 of the 42 films still do not have official Facebook pages. A further 17 films didn’t have official Facebook pages as of January 1 and hence had a smaller window of time to generate gains. In addition, this analysis favors films opening early in the summer, since their marketing campaigns have geared up already in some cases, but even with that in mind it still offers valuable insights into potential returns.
No Surprises Here
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
This is one of the few sure-fire hits of the summer, as the numbers clearly show. With almost 100,000 more tweets than its nearest competitor it was the most talked-about film on Twitter; it ended up in eighth place in Facebook rank. The first film raked in over $770 million worldwide, but given the goodwill and fans it created back in 2014 and the massive wave of merchandising gold that has followed, it has a very good chance at crossing the magic $1 billion worldwide mark.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
The fifth Pirates film easily led in the Facebook like increase charts with over one million new likes, more than three times the closest film. On Twitter its fifth spot was also very impressive and completes one of the best all-round social media performances of the summer films. The last three films in the franchise have all crossed or been very close to the $1 billion worldwide mark, and we’re expecting another big turnout despite the gap between releases and Johnny Depp’s recent box office slips.
Transformers: The Last Knight
The Last Knight is in a similar boat with Pirates. It is the fifth film of a storied franchise that has consistently been a lock for the magic $1 billion worldwide mark. It performed best on Twitter with a second-place finish, while on Facebook it was only eleventh. It’s important to mention, however, that for films such as this, and even Pirates, when you already have tens of millions of Facebook likes, it’s more difficult to generate big increases, as so many core fans are already following the official page.
Despicable Me 3
One of the strongest animated franchises returns with its third film, which was the second biggest like-getter in 2017 so far, despite already having over 17 million total likes. It was way back in 11th spot on Twitter over the same period, but in general family-friendly films have a harder time on that metric, and it was the second-biggest animated summer film there behind only Cars 3. This rounds out the list of summer 2017 films that have a good chance at $1 billion worldwide.
High Risk, High Reward
With a reported price tag of over $100 million, the DC adaptation is one of the titles that had a lot of questions surrounding its release—including its lack of star power and little to rely on outside of Wonder Woman’s name. These social media returns are indeed very reassuring, with its third place finish on Twitter putting it ahead of most giant blockbusters. Its Facebook progress was lagging outside the top 10, which applies a bit of a caution, but given these returns it’s hard to see how it doesn’t land in the top 10.
Christopher Nolan is no stranger to steering big-budget original screenplays into box office glory, as his summer blockbuster Inception proved back in 2010. Dunkirk looks to be another winner for the acclaimed director. A fourth-spot finish on Twitter and ninth on Facebook was an eye opener, given the limited amount of information that has been released about the film. The presence of Harry Styles of One Direction fame in the film doesn’t hurt its online appeal either, but even with that in mind it is clearly well on its way to success.
The Dark Horse
In recent years summer has been fertile ground for youth-orientated adaptations of popular romantic novels. 2014 had The Fault in Ours Stars, 2015 had Paper Towns, and last year saw Me before You. This year it would seem as though Everything, Everything is poised to take that crown after its trailer set it on fire on both Twitter and Facebook, where it finished in eighth and fourth position respectively. With a micro-budget it could potentially have the greatest percentage profit of any summer wide release.
It may be too early to make a generalization, but not a single August wide opener was in the top 12 for either Twitter or Facebook. This might prove to be a blessing in disguise for late July releases such as Dunkirk, which could take advantage of a generally underperforming August.