Can Social Analytics Predict Movie Box Office Success? “Ender’s Game” vs “Last Vegas” vs “Free Birds”

Three new movies open nationwide today: sci-fi action thriller Ender’s Game, bachelor party comedy Last Vegas, and animated comedy Free Birds. Each of these films comes with a strong cast and a hefty dose of advance hype. So what can social analytics tell us about what might transpire at the box office this weekend?

We compared sentiment scores for the three movies during the 30 days leading up to opening weekend. (You can run your own custom sentiment analyses by setting up a free 14-day trial of Topsy Pro—sign up now!)

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Although all three films have made strong showings, with average sentiment scores consistently above 80, Free Birds tops the list with a score of 94. But the number of people talking about the movie is also significantly lower than the number of people talking about Ender’s Game:

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Share of voice is another way to visualize the conversation around this week’s national releases. Here’s how the proportion of discussion breaks down between the three movies:

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With a consistently larger share of the overall conversation about movies that are coming out this weekend, Ender’s Game has achieved far broader potential exposure (more than 550 million potential impressions over the last 30 days) than either Last Vegas (220 million potential impressions) or Free Birds (140 million potential impressions).

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So what will drive moviegoers to the box office—Free Birds‘ overwhelmingly positive buzz or Ender’s Game’s broad exposure? Check back Monday for our analysis of the weekend’s social conversations around these movies and how the patterns line up with box office receipts.

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