What a year.
In December 2013, my co-founders Tobi Bauckhage, Ben Kubota, and I were discussing the growth plan we had in mind for Moviepilot.com. We went back and forth before agreeing on an ambitious but nevertheless achievable goal. One year later we look back at this prediction and have to acknowledge that the insane effort from our editorial team, the eye of our social media team selecting and posting stories, and especially the incredible content being created by our most dedicated fans, has made our platform grow in a way we never believed would be possible in such a short amount of time.
As Ben Kubota recently posted, we surpassed the biggest movie website in the US, IMDB.com, in October 2014 for the first time. We recorded 70M visits that month and more than 30M unique users to our website.
Now that the year is coming to an end, I thought it would be worthwhile to look back at the topics that interested most of you over the course of the past 12 months and highlight some of the stories around them.
We publish 1,000 - 2,000 stories per week, so any roundup here is only ever going to scratch the surface of the type of content we produce. I therefore decided not to go only for overall biggest stories, but to rather try and group bigger articles, pinpointing overall topics and themes that were of recurrent interest over the year.
But let's start with the biggest three stories overall:
More than 20 million people were enchanted by this theory that Jon Negroni built upon as a follow-up to his overarching Pixar Theory. The night the story was initially posted, we truly thought our servers would catch fire. It was the best stress test for our framework we could have ever asked for.
Besides Jon's Toy Story Theory there were a lot of other fan theories posted that tried to connect hidden dots in movies. Two of the most engaging ones included a great roundup of the Nolanverse Batman fan theories and the true identity of the three brothers who possessed the Deadly Hollows.
Nearly 6M of you joined the effort of solving the anagram riddle J.K. Rowling put out on Twitter on a rainy October afternoon.
When she tweeted this, many of us hoped this was the first clue to a new Harry Potter story she was working on. The fervent fan speculation that followed led to a serious internet meltdown, before Rowling's message was finally deciphered. Unfortunately, the initial hope of a new Potter movie had to be scrapped, but the Twitter riddle sure was fun to follow.
Shared riddles, secrets and Easter eggs continue to be one of the most interesting, content-evolving formats on Moviepilot's platform. Examples in 2014 were this article on 5 things you might have missed on the Walking Dead and the speculation evolving from a hidden Easter egg in Iron Man 3.
American Horror Story returned to the screen with a vengeance in autumn 2014. The crossover between real-life inspirations and the characters of the ground-breaking Freak Show season drew the attention of 2 million readers. But it was only the forerunner to dozens of articles discussing the show, its recent episodes and the fear of clowns we all share.
The crossover between real life and horror became a big topic and talking point this year. Check out this roundup of 5 horror films based on terrifying real life supernatural events, or the sighting of this strange creature in China. But we were also amazed by the amount of stories you were willing to share when we asked you for your experiences with true life ghost stories.
What else interested you?
2014 was another big year for Superhero topics. Both Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier were two big blockbusters that continued Marvel Studios' winning streak. But aside from current productions, what especially drew your attention was the question of what lies ahead of us.
From speculating in the summer as to whether Marvel really was building towards the Civil War storyline, to their PR stunt in October when they officially announced it, alongside their movie slate for the upcoming years, this was a great year for all things superhero.
But it wasn't just Marvel who grabbed our attention. DC also got in on the discussion, dropping loads of tasty nuggets for their upcoming DC blockbuster Batman vs. Superman, such as these first images of Batman's armored suit or this one of Ben Affleck in the iconic role as the Caped Crusader.
Content focusing on Disney drew a lot of attention, like this editorial about actors who could be real life Disney Princes. But you were also fascinated by exploring darker secrets revolving around our most beloved animation movies, such as this article looking into the darker origins of nine Disney classics.
Now that we're in December, we're starting to get an understanding of how fast a year passes by. Content that reminded us of how time flies also ranked high in your interest. In case you missed it, you might want to check how the cast of the Neverending Story or the Power Rangers have changed so much over the years. Warning: feelings of intense nostalgia are likely.
When it came to celebrities being real, nothing touched you like the mentor/mentee relationship between Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo in the aftermath of the Avengers. But there was also the hard to believe but true story of Walking Dead Star Laurie Holden, who went undercover and successfully busted a sex trafficking ring in Columbia.
It was also a year when we bid a sad farewell to some our most beloved stars. We all mourned Robin William's tragic death on the August 11th, 2014. In the week after his death, many moving stories and articles were shared, reminding us of how much we loved this one-of-a-kind comedian. There was a beautiful tribute to him when Aladdin was shown on TV and fans created incredible salutes like this photorealistic portrait of him.
The truly inspirational work coming from fan art also had a large impact on our site. Some great examples are this awesome interpretation of the Rugrats babies all grown up or Dwayne Johnson imagined as Apocalypse.
What lies ahead of us?
In 2015, we will strive even further to be the best platform for fan content out there. We will try to connect you as close as possible with the movie makers and Hollywood, like when Evan Lee, one of the most devoted and loyal contributors to Moviepilot, visited the Interstellar premiere in Los Angeles, or when the equally talented Rose Moore had pancakes with Kingsmen director Mathew Vaughn in New York.
Some of you might have noticed that beside movies, we also started to publish content on Video Games. We believe 2015 will be a great year for gaming content and we've already started putting out some fantastic content such as this article on Nintendo Classics possibly coming to the iPhone soon, this parental experiment in video game history and this emotional piece about a mother using WoW to cope with her terminal illness.
Together with you we want to explore even more topics where fans and their opinions, thoughts, and creations drive the conversation. We're excited to share more about this with you soon.
But until then, thanks to everyone contributing and creating on our website, in-house or around the globe! You are what makes Moviepilot special.