Monday, August 16, 2010

Buzz doesn't always translate

I saw a great chart last year, showing how the very good box office performance for Twilight could have been predicted by the level of buzz generated, and the number of people saying that they were going to see it.

But...  Not always.

Click to enlarge

A case in point is the first weekend performance for the new film Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.  From this chart (using Radian6) you'd expect it to have beaten both The Expendables and Eat, Pray, Love in revenues. 

It didn't - the estimates for the first 3 days are:

1 - The Expendables - $35m
2 - Eat, Pray, Love - $23.7m
3 - The Other Guys (last week's no. 1) - $18m
4 - Inception (last week's no. 2) - $11.4m
5 - Scott Pilgrim - $10.5m

So why didn't the buzz reflect the reality?  I think it's mainly because Scott Pilgrim fans are very active social media users; fans of The Expendables, and particularly Eat, Pray, Love, less so.  It may also be the case, as I mentioned last week, that the marketing was fantastic from the point of view of the hard-core comic book fan audience, less so for a more general audience.  In which case we've been here before:  In 2007 Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse, a film very much targeted at film geeks, only made $11.5m in the first weekend.

Use buzz tracking data with caution!  As with all research bear in mind the audience being surveyed.


TommyD said...

Isn't this just a reflection of the average Twitter user demographic, ie. not they are less likely to watch the expendables? Remeber, not everybody has a Twitter acoount, and from those only a few percentage actually Tweet on a regular basis.

@disapia (ha! the irony)

Dan said...

Absolutely agree. It's dangerous to interpret buzz levels without taking this into account.

Unknown said...

Very true - that's part of why defining "where the fish are" is so important. Speaking in human terms, you have to know if your audience is on the particular tool you're using to spread or measure a message/camapign/idea. If your audience isn't on Twitter, it's probably not the right tool for you to focus your attentions on!

Nice Radian6 chart, by the way! Thanks :)

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