This summer's box office hit? Twitter.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

On a hot summer day, few things are more appealing than a cool, dark movie theater. But with multiple films premiering every weekend, how do audiences decide what to see? According to studio executives, many turn to Twitter:

Maleficent is such an iconic Disney character, and fans were eager to take part in her story beyond the screen. Twitter was a great place for us to connect with an audience of highly engaged moviegoers in an immediate, creative way and build buzz around the release of the film.

Anthy PriceSenior Vice President of Media and Integrations at The Walt Disney Studios

Twitter was a key ingredient to the success of ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’. We had an amazing film and created some highly shareable content. As the live platform, Twitter was the perfect place for us to spread the word in a creative way and connect with people we know are moviegoers.

Marc WeinstockHead of Domestic Theatrical Marketing at 20th Century Fox

To find out more about the role Twitter plays in movie viewing decisions, we partnered with Nielsen to conduct an exit poll of U.S. moviegoers age 13 and over who had just seen one of four big summer films on opening weekend. We found that compared to non-users, Twitter users are real film buffs. They see more movies and are more likely to head to a movie when it first opens. Furthermore, when it comes to picking movies, what they see on Twitter influences their choices.

Read on to learn about Twitter’s box office influence and three key ways studios can use our platform to mobilize audiences.

1. Audiences use Twitter to track movie buzz – long before films are released.

Many moviegoers (62%) go online or use mobile apps to find out about upcoming films, and Twitter is one of their favorite resources. When asked how they’d heard about the last movie they’d seen, 25% said they’d seen an ad, promo or Tweet about it. Among the Twitter users in the group, this number was significantly higher: 42%.

We also found that audiences crave information long before films are released. Nearly a third (30%) of Twitter users like to catch movie information a few months before movies appear in theaters, and another 20% seek the scoop a month or so before opening day. In fact, Twitter users are so eager for movie news that most of them (65%) follow a film-related account. This includes accounts for movies, movie theaters and actors and actresses.

Tip: Create a movie account at least six months prior to release, and involve actors, theaters and movie news sites in your Twitter strategy to maximize reach. For example, before “XMen: Days of Future Past” opened, the cast built buzz about the film by interacting with fans via a live Twitter chat.

2. Tweets mobilize moviegoers.

The vast majority (87%) of Twitter users said what they saw on Twitter influenced their most recent movie choice.

When asked how they’d reacted to seeing a Tweet about the movie they’d just seen, most Twitter users (88%) said they took action. Many (44%) proceeded to watch the trailer, and more than a third (41%) tweeted or retweeted something about the movie. A significant number later chatted about the movie with others, and some searched for showtimes or tickets.

What kind of movie-related content do Twitter users want to see? Users say the top three categories they’d like to see more of are special previews and trailers (32%), Tweets from the movie’s cast (31%) and behind the scenes videos and pictures (27%).

Tip: Tweet “insider”-type content to draw audiences to the theater. Here, @Maleficent engages users by tweeting a trailer.

3. On Twitter, audiences give and get movie recommendations.

Twitter users like to have their say. Upon exiting the theater, most Twitter users (58%) said they planned to share their thoughts about the movie online. Another 14% of them had already done so. Of those who intended to give their two cents, more than half (56%) planned to do it via Twitter.

Their words carry weight: A large proportion (47%) of Twitter users say that they are most influenced by movie recommendations from family or friends on Twitter.

Tip: Moviegoers’ opinions matter on Twitter. Boost your box office numbers by encouraging audiences to tweet about your movie. When this fan shared that “Blended” was his favorite Adam Sandler film, @BlendedMovie spread the word with a Retweet.