ByTobi Bauckhage, writer at Creators.co
Running a tight ship with an awesome crew. Putting fans in the driver's seat in entertainment. Seriously.
Tobi Bauckhage

Monday morning quarterback with a data look at last weekend's box office results

This Week: DRACULA UNTOLD, THE JUDGE, ALEXANDER and ADDICTED

We’re fascinated by data here at Moviepilot. And as passionate movie fans and former filmmakers, we’re also interested in box office numbers and the money side of the business. Because it defines what kind of movies are going to be made. Talk around town is that traditional movie tracking - which tries to monitor marketing effectiveness and predict box office mainly based on statistical panels - is broken. So a few months ago, we started to look at publicly available data on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Google Search - as well as the data we collect at Moviepilot - in order to have some fun with it and play “Moneyball” ourselves.

Every Friday in our “Digital Tracking” column for Variety, we ask ourselves what digital data is telling us about how a movie will perform that following weekend. Check it out, we think it is pretty cool. Our predictions are getting more and more solid. Now starting this week, every Monday we’ll be looking back on the weekend's wide releases to determine just how predictive our data was - what did we learn? How meaningful was the data? If hindsight is 20/20, how sharp is big data's vision? And what were the other guys predicting?


DRACULA UNTOLD, Universal

Moviepilot Prediction: $23 million (98% Accuracy)

Boxoffice Mojo Prediction: no prediction, site was down

Boxoffice.com Prediction: $15.5 million (66% Accuracy)

Final Scoreboard: $23.5 million

Quick Hit: Reliable comparisons to “Hercules” and “I, Frankenstein” offer excellent insight into solid open

X's and O's: For starters, let’s talk about what went according to plan. “Dracula Untold” was in the “Hercules” ballpark in trailer views (thanks in part to millions of additional views via Facebook), and collected an impressive 188k views on Google search, just shy of box office wonder “Gone Girl.” Comparing across to highly relatable “I, Frankenstein,” “Untold” seemed like a sure thing for $20 million and a potential threat for much more. Sometimes the key to an accurate prediction is focusing on the right numbers rather than all the numbers. Based on Twitter and Search alone, we could have been looking at a $30+ million release. But we’ve found YouTube views to be the most accurate predictor for the action/horror genre - makes sense for such a sensory medium, no? With YouTube as our primary guide (and suggesting around $20 million), we landed just north of that for “Untold,” with a prediction of $23 million (with $23.5 million the actual result).


ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY, Disney

Moviepilot Prediction: $15.5 million (84% Accuracy)

Boxoffice Mojo Prediction: no prediction, site was down

Boxoffice.com Prediction: $16.5 million (90% Accuracy)

Final Scoreboard: $18.4 million

Quick Hit: Family films continue to pose challenge for digital tracking, as “Alexander” outperforms social engagement

X's and O's: “Alexander” and its remarkably long title wasn’t so easy to predict - indeed, most family films present a challenge to tracking via social data. Take Focus Features’ “Boxtrolls,” for example, which released in late September. The animated family comedy topped “Alexander” across every key social metric - Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Search - but still ended up with an opening of $17.3 million, more than $1 million shy of “Alexander.” Perhaps box office timing was the culprit, with “Boxtrolls” challenging a tough September while “Alexander” tapped a recovering October market?

We have another theory, and it factors in more than just data. “Boxtrolls” is a tougher sell - dark animation without those A-list names buoying release. In family films at large (and those targeted to older audiences), efforts in marketing and PR tend to skew away from digital and move more toward traditional - TV, print, etc. Where “Boxtrolls” hung its hat on building social buzz, “Alexander” turned to late night TV and the classic print/billboard barrage to nail down a less digitally active target audience. Both achieved results they could live with, but for us data geeks, making predictions is always tougher when traditional marketing (versus digital) takes priority.


THE JUDGE, Warner Bros.

Moviepilot Prediction: $15 million (86% Accuracy)

Boxoffice Mojo Prediction: no prediction, site was down

Boxoffice.com: $13 million (99% Accuracy)

Final Scoreboard: $13.1 million

Quick Hit: Robert Downey Jr.’s aggressive social puts butts in seats, but not quite as many as hoped

X's and O's: Despite the best efforts of mega-star (and Moviepilot favorite) Robert Downey Jr., turnout for “The Judge” ($13.3 million) came in short of our expectations ($15 million). With so much of the social engagement coming directly from RDJ’s Facebook (22 million likes) and Twitter (2.75 million followers) bases, it appears the actor - rather than the film itself - was what held audiences’ attentions. So while comparables such as “Prisoners” performed similarly across these metrics, the engagement in those cases was more directly attributed to passion for the movie, rather than the star. Much of Downey Jr.’s base helped keep “The Judge” afloat, but it’s evident not all of his base bought tickets. Guess they’re waiting for the next installment of “Avengers.”


ADDICTED, Lionsgate

Moviepilot Prediction: $5.5 million (73% Accuracy)

Boxoffice Mojo Prediction: no prediction, site was down

Boxoffice.com Prediction: $7.5 million (100% Accuracy)

Final Scoreboard: $7.5 million

Quick Hit: Terrific social strategy yields box office success, with weekend’s best per-screen average (almost $9k)

X's and O's: Lionsgate’s steamy urban drama “Addicted” enjoyed ravenous engagement on social, and this time it was for the subject matter of the film rather than its leading man (or lady, in this case). Banking on a theme and genre not too different from Tyler Perry’s “Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor,” “Addicted” crushed on Facebook and Twitter, with fans engaging energetically through frequent posts that showed a clear and savvy understanding of the base. Then, good old-fashioned supply and demand kicked in; despite comparable engagement numbers to the weekend’s other releases, “Addicted” was available on only one-third the number of screens. The end result? The weekend’s highest per screen average, at just under $9k.

Sources: boxoffice.com prediction, boxofficemojo prediction (site is back up, thank god).


Latest from our Creators