Trailers are an awesome screaming fist of action and wit packed into three minutes, often more enjoyable than the actual movie. Their figures can give crucial insight into box office forecasts, pop culture engagement, and fan support. Ghostbusters claimed an odd record this week of the first movie-related video to enter the Top 100 disliked clips on YouTube. At the time of publishing it's 18th in the charts with over 680,000 downs, sandwiched indecorously between Katy Perry and Justin Bieber. What do these figures mean for movies?
Superhero trailers are a bit special because they give superfans a first video look at how the film has been approached — how the director and actors have interpreted their myriad of colorful characters, what plot lines have been borrowed from comics, and how off-the-rails the movie will be. The trailer interpretation is partly why Ghostbusters haters claim to be upset: Because the remake was different to the original of 30 years ago. Basically, they're scared of girls.
The YouTube figures are a direct window into the public sentiment towards a movie before it has been released. They indicate how excited fans are, the viral-ness of the campaign, and whether it's likely to soar or sink. I've chosen only the most-viewed official YouTube trailers (as ones on BvS scale had around 50 TV spots). Here are the figures of the YouTube superhero teasers from this year so far:
6. Suicide Squad
- Views: 66.1 million (Comic-Con first look)
- Likes: 445,461
- Dislikes: 19,300
When the first trailer was dropped back in July 13, following a leak that was viewed over seven million times, all hell broke loose. Fans went crazy for Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and in a different way for the new tattooed Joker (Jared Leto). The latter summed up the smooth-talking violence of the production with his deliciously malevolent quip:
“Oh, I’m not gonna kill ya. I’m just going to hurt you really, really, bad”
5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Views: 22 million (first trailer)
The first trailer of the crime-fighting sewer dwelling turtles saw a glimpse of bandana-ed brawn in glorious graphics. The guys drew millions in a high octane building-smashing, car-exploding, missile-firing, joke-dropping three minutes to the bombastic tune of Run–D.M.C.'s 'It's Tricky.' The 22 million was only a third of Suicide Squad's though. The trailer also showed a first peep at CGI versions of hulking villains Bebop and Rocksteady. I'm sold.
4. X-Men: Apocalypse
Views: 48.5 million (first trailer)
The X-Men drove admirable traffic to its trailer recently with a cameo from Wolverine's claws in the final seconds, hinting that Logan would have a role in the movie despite all previous announcements stating otherwise. However, that trick didn't have as much impact on views as Spider-Man's may have done (see below), as the Wolverine final trailer had 31.4 million views less than the first. They got double the views of TMNT but nowhere near their DC counterpart, Suicide Squad.
3. Captain America: Civil War
- Views: 63.2 million
- Likes: 614,174
- Dislikes: 12,099
The count on Marvel's epic may get a boost over the next couple of weeks with the movie's US release, but over 60 million is pretty hefty. That's almost the combined population of California and Texas. Keeping Spider-Man wrapped up until the last moment was an inspired choice, meaning fans were crazy-clicking as soon as it dropped to discover what Peter Parker looked like. Very odd, as it turned out. Civil War leapt into Suicide Squad figure territory, but with over 150,000 more likes.
2. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Views: 66.3 million
- Likes: 430,022
- Dislikes: 16,448
Zack Snyder's concerted campaign at the San Diego Comic-Con stole the limelight with a massive 66 million views, the largest number of any 2016 movie. Its success was the result of a climax of an epic three year Snyder campaign at the convention. The first year saw Harry Lennix (General Swanwick in Man of Steel) do a dramatic reading of a passage from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. The next had a Wonder Woman reveal and teaser clip of Superman floating above Batman. Frustrating though the dragged-out marketing may be, the long game brought in millions of viewers.
Views: 40.9 million
- Dislikes: 12,957
Deadpool soared up to 40.9 million on the back of its Red Band Trailer. The large 'NSFW' stamp and introductory 'Content warning: This video may be inappropriate for some users' is far more enticing than its fellow SFW trailing trailers — which ranged from 15.9 million to 22.8 million. The blend of humor and violence made for a high scoring view count.
Behind the numbers
So what do these figures tell us? Deadpool, the biggest selling movie of 2016, hasn't claimed the top trailer spot despite its multiple box office-smashing records. That went to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which beat Captain America: Civil War to the number one spot by approximately 100,000 with a massive total of 66.3 million views. Snyder's movie also claimed the highest at the box office of those released with $325 million.
The lowest view count is TMNT, but is that even a superhero film?! Nickelodeon doesn't have quite the fan power of Marvel or DC but are sure to claim big at the box office. It should be noted that relative historical failure Fantastic Four (2015) only managed 17.5 million views.
None came within shouting distance of the viral hate Ghostbusters has fired, with the greatest amount of dislikes weighing upon Suicide Squad with just over 19,000, though this represented well under one percent of the total views and was far outweighed by almost half million of likes, the second most on this list — illustrating how controversial the DC team is.
The figures don't prove anything in the long-run, as seen in the case of Deadpool. The only thing they map for sure is the pre-release atmosphere. A key formula seems to be to get over 60 million views — which bodes well for Suicide Squad and Civil War.
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