Last month saw the release of trailers for three of the biggest movies of 2012: The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and Prometheus. Premiering just days apart from each other, the trailers were all well received with large amounts of fanfare and recognition, in-part because they represented new installments to existing, beloved franchises. UK based social media agency Way To Blue tracked each film’s buzz on Twitter and other online platforms throughout the month of December, and this week released their results. You may be surprised. Hit the jump for more.
Way To Blue, which counts Disney, Paramount, Sony, and 20th Century Fox among their clients, categorizes data by comparing the number and percentage share of tweets for the three movies, the percentage share of “buzz” across blogs and news sites (they don’t quite say how they measure this), the number of tweets about different characters and themes in each film, and the number of tweets about the three directors.
Head over to their site for the full details and graphics of their numbers, but Way To Blue’s analysis paints one clear winner: The Hobbit. Peter Jackson’s return to Middle Earth held the majority of buzz in nearly every category, including dominating activity on Twitter over The Dark Knight Rises and Prometheus. The agency even says The Hobbit marked one of their largest responses to a film in their time analyzing social media data.
At first glance, I was really surprised by The Hobbit’s Twitter buzz success compared to the other two films, particularly The Dark Knight Rises. Without question, I think the Lord of the Rings is the seminal film franchise of this century, and the “Gen Y” generation that calls social media sites home grew up with those films, but Batman is Batman. The Dark Knight is one of the biggest movies of all time, and I figured the momentum of being in the public’s consciousness more recently would have played a larger role in the results.
The more I think about it though, there may be a clear explanation for the data. The numbers may reflect the fact that Warner Bros. chose to release The Dark Knight Rises trailer in theaters before releasing it online, while The Hobbit premiered online worldwide. Such a move produced far greater online fervor in the hours leading up to The Hobbit trailer’s release, while The Dark Knight Rises trailer came online some three days after its release in theaters and after many had already seen it. There was not that collective anticipation, and I think the impact of that shows in the analysis.
While Prometheus used a similar online premiere strategy, even going one step further by releasing a series “mini trailers” hyping the eventual trailer, the buzz and awareness for both The Hobbit and Batman are in a whole other league in comparison.
At the end of the day, I still believe The Dark Knight Rises will gross more than both The Hobbit and Prometheus, and the trending success of past films like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World prove that success in social media does not necessarily translate to box office success. Regardless, Way To Blue does a really nice job consolidating their numbers into some clear graphics, and I hope they consider running a follow up analysis comparing each film’s online buzz to their eventual box office grosses this time next year.
Can you draw any conclusions based off this data? Do you think it is an accurate representation of the buzz surrounding these three films? Let us know in the comments section below.