ByJosh Weinstock, writer at Creators.co
Movies / TV / sports by passion. Public relations by trade. Sharing the good word about MP and the best fan community in the universe.
Josh Weinstock

Moviepilot plays Monday morning quarterback with a big data look at last weekend's box office results.

This Week: THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES, NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB, ANNIE

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. Talk around town is that traditional movie tracking is broken. With that in mind, 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. And every Monday right here on MP, we’ll be looking back on the weekend's wide releases to determine just how predictive our data was - what did we learn?

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES, Warner Bros.

Peter Jackson's final Middle Earth installment did not go gently into that good night
Peter Jackson's final Middle Earth installment did not go gently into that good night

Moviepilot Prediction: $86 million (5-day)

BoxOffice Mojo Prediction: $91 million (5-day)

BoxOffice.com Prediction: $106 million (5-day)

Final Scoreboard: $89.1 million

Quick Hit: Metrics tell the tale, as substantial increase in Search and Twitter forecasts best opening yet in Hobbit saga

X's and O's: Peter Jackson's sprawling journey spanning six films and box office billions is finally at its end. But not before one last, impressive surge.

"Battle of the Five Armies" surpassed even our lofty expectations, clocking a $90 million five-day opening in what has been a particularly tepid box office year. Looking at the sheer data on social, we would likely have shot even higher, with "Five Armies" adding 100,000 searches (a 50% increase over "Desolation of Smaug") and 250,000 tweets (100% increase). But accounting for both the year-long lull at the box office and the potential impact of the all-encompassing Sony hack, we adjusted our numbers accordingly. Also worth factoring in was an especially cold response from critics, who were mixed at best.

In the end, Warner Bros. was able to overcome the obstacles working against them through an effective social media push, landing one of the year's biggest opening weekend hauls.

NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB, 20th Century Fox

Museum's final hurrah left something to be desired
Museum's final hurrah left something to be desired

Moviepilot Prediction: $25 million

BoxOffice Mojo Prediction: $26 million

BoxOffice.com Prediction: $23 million

Final Scoreboard: $17.1 million

Quick Hit: Sputtering open for act three comedy could hint at importance of YouTube views for family comedy sequels

X's and O's: Drawing comparisons for a title like "Secret of the Tomb" was no easy task. It most closely aligns with the "family comedy" genre, but is it truly tapping the same target audience as "Muppets Most Wanted" or "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day?"

"Muppets" looked like our strongest comp, with a solid blend of appeal to kids and adults. Both are also sequels, a factor that heavily plays into how people interact on social, since there's a built-in audience even in the early days of production and lead-up to release.

With "Muppets" in mind, we shot for a box office pull in the mid-$20's for "Museum" assuming that the latter's better performance on Twitter (40,000 more tweets) and Search (18,000 better) would help it top the $17 million opening weekend for "Muppets." In the end, the two titles made almost exactly the same, suggesting the nearly 3.5 million additional YouTube views for "Muppets" made up the difference. Also worth factoring in was the simultaneous release of Sony's "Annie," another family flick that might have eaten into an otherwise $20 million + weekend for "Museum."

ANNIE, Sony

Finally, a reason to smile for Sony
Finally, a reason to smile for Sony

Moviepilot Prediction: $16 million

BoxOffice Mojo Prediction: $13 million

BoxOffice.com Prediction: $18 million

Final Scoreboard: $15.9 million

Quick Hit: Solid search keys precise social data prediction, and helps deliver successful open for Sony

X's and O's: Boy did they need this one. With nearly 80,000 searches and a steady 15 million YouTube views, Sony's "Annie" was clearly on people's radars. And despite subpar reviews coupled with some possible apprehension about catching a Sony release in theaters, "Annie" performed right on cue with those impressive metrics.

Comparables were a little easier here, with "Maleficent" and "Frozen" serving as helpful launching-off points. "Annie" couldn't keep up with either of those titles on Search and YouTube, but did well for itself considering its scale and scope. It even held up nicely to those Disney juggernauts in YouTube Buzz (% of likes to overall views), with a 0.40% mark, right in the neighborhood of "Frozen" (0.44%) and "Maleficent" (0.42%).

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