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The Movie Industry’s Love / Hate Relationship With Social Media

by Andrew Richards | 09.07.2013


As another studio reels in the wake of a disappointing box office opening from a summer “Blockbuster”, ( the Lone Ranger brought in only 29.4 Million against a production budget of roughly 225 million), the industry continues to struggle with its love / hate relationship with Social Media.

When working in a movies favour, social media can have a dramatically positive impact. Look no further than one of the pioneers in the use of harnessing the power of the Internet and social media than the “Blair Witch Project”, which (fuelled by an aggressive social media campaign) grossed $248,639,099 worldwide compared to its final budget, which ranged between $500,000 and $750,000.

When working against it, Social Media can have a devastating impact (although it must be said this is much more likely to happen if the movie sucks!), horrific reviews, blog posts, commentary across twitter, facebook etc…. ensured that the Lone Ranger was destined to remain lonely with only a fraction of the intended audience bothering to show up on the opening weekend. No real surprise to anyone who performed a “listening audit” in the online landscape coming up to the July 4th weekend.

“One of the engines of that change is social media and its effect on the post-movie going experience. Thanks to Twitter and Facebook, viewers can actually affect the way a movie performs. A film’s audience can now help kill a movie or extend its life.” Michael Lyton, CEO of Sony Corporation

Studios know that there is a direct correlation between the number of consumers that are driven to watch their trailer online and the number of bums in seats on opening day. The downside being that they also know that if the online “chatter” is profoundly negative, no number of trailer views may be able to overcome the negative sentiment.

Interestingly, when they actually make good movies they don’t tend to have to worry too much about the latter!


• 1 in 3 “connected” consumers saw a film as a result of something they read on a social network

• 33% of moviegoers decided to see a film before the TV campaign starts

• 18-34 year olds are responsible for 50% of all ticket sales

• 74% of people like to share/comment about their movie experiences

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