Last week I released my bold Summer movie predictions . Up until this past weekend my prediction model, which is based upon social buzz for movies, was 24 for 24 in predicting movie profitability. Ironically, social media marketing is what caused this model to miss this past weekend.
San Andreas grossed $54 million in its opening weekend and that was led by a huge spike in social mentions starting on May 28th the day the movie was released. As a fan and follower of The Rock on social media, I saw a firsthand account of the social promotion he was doing to his 8 million + twitter followers, 15 million + Instagram followers, and 49 million Facebook followers on the days leading up to the release and in this case it looks like it paid off.
San Andreas appears to be social outlier compared to previous non-profitable movie trends. The film was trending below previously unprofitable movies (such as last year’s Hercules, with the same lead actor) until the week of its release, when star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and other actors launched a social promotion across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. As of last Thursday, May 28, San Andreas averaged 3.5 times more social buzz than previously unprofitable films – when it had been trending low Social sentiment towards the film also took a positive turn with movie fans increasingly expressing “Joy, Admiration or Anticipation” in posts between May 28 and May 31.
It just goes to show that you can’t deny the power of social media. With continued social buzz (40K+ mentions on Sunday) and its growing box office representing more than half the film’s budget, I now expect San Andreas to be domestically profitable. With this huge unexpected opening for this movie, it isn’t crazy to think of a future where every A list star isn’t even considered for a role unless they have a huge social following to draw on and promote their film from the depths of obscurity to big opening weekend in a matter of days.