ByJosh Weinstock, writer at
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.


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?


Ecstasy at Universal this weekend
Ecstasy at Universal this weekend

Moviepilot Prediction: $97 million

BoxOffice Mojo Prediction: $92 million Prediction: $95 million

Final Scoreboard: $85 million

Quick Hit: Historic social metrics blown slightly out of proportion, but end result is still impressive

X's and O's: A record-breaking weekend for "Fifty Shades of Grey" probably caught few by surprise. Clever and subdued marketing matched viral chatter across social media to all but guarantee a box office feast. But to understand why "Fifty Shades" made less than the digital tracking suggested, we must delve deeper.

First, let's examine YouTube. An astounding 211 million trailer views was our first indication of a breakout, though it's hard to decipher which views were organic and which weren't. It's worth noting that an "R" rating by the MPAA makes a $90 million open a heavy long shot (particularly in February), giving those crazy trailer numbers some added perspective.

Either way, some robust numbers on Twitter (1.8m tweets) and Search (380,000 views) meant traction with both young and old audiences. What these numbers couldn't account for was the nature of the conversation across social. Indeed, interest was absurdly high, but some of the chatter was negative or mixed. Just because everyone was "curious" didn't mean everyone was theater-bound, and when Thursday night finally rolled around, a surprising number of "buzzers" wound up seeing surprise performer "Kingsman: The Secret Service," which we'll discuss next.


Kingsman polished up nicely this weekend
Kingsman polished up nicely this weekend

Moviepilot Prediction: $27 million

BoxOffice Mojo Prediction: $28 million Prediction: $35 million

Final Scoreboard: $36.2 million

Quick Hit: Strong reviews and traction with older audiences key splendid opening for action-packed spy thriller

X's and O's: Box office success stories usually check two boxes: 1.) They effectively court their target audience, and 2.) They make strides with secondary audiences. Evidence of the latter came courtesy the Search metric for "Kingsman: The Secret Service," where 149,000 views topped "Maze Runner" and rivaled even "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." Sure enough, 60% of turnout for "Kingsman" was aged 25 and up, where strong Search usually suggests activation of older audiences.

But of course, "Kingsman" doesn't hit the $35 million mark without tapping fan boys too. A YouTube count of 26.4 million plus some stellar word-of-mouth and late social action meant younger audiences took notice of the lone new "Fifty Shades" alternative. And with "Kingsman" scoring far better reviews (72% on Rotten Tomatoes) than "Fifty Shades" (26%), some of the social buzz against the latter turned into action for the former. It wouldn't be shocking to see "Kingsman" hold better than "Fifty Shades" as we approach Oscars weekend.


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