I recently noticed the popularity of the new Will Smith movie Hancock when it hit our Movers and Shakers. I'd seen it advertised on the sides of buses, but was not really sure what it was about; after a quick trip to the official site, I realized it was not-your-grandfather's-superhero flick. It was certainly popular among folks based on traffic to the website, but I wondered if this would translate into ticket sales. It ended up getting 62.6 Million dollars on opening weekend in the U.S. according to IMDBPro.com.
IMDB Pro has some really neat features, one of which enables you to look at lists of all-time highest opening Box Office films through the years. I went through and picked some recent movies that were on this list. My goal was to see if traffic to the film's website translates into Box Office receipts on the opening weekend. Because some studios direct traffic for individual films to a sub domain or sub-directory on the studio's website, I had to weed out those--Alexa tracks at the domain level. Here's what I came up with, graphing traffic to the stand-alone websites for these recently popular blockbuster releases: Hancock, Sex and the City, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and Horton Hears a Who.
As you can see, the movies with the highest spike in Reach, in descending order from the most popular to the least, are Indiana Jones, Hancock, Sex and the City, and Horton Hears a Who.
According to IMDB Pro, the list of domestic opening Box Office for these four films, in descending order, is as follows:
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull with $127 Million.
- Hancock with $62.6 Million.
- Sex and the City with $56.8 Million.
- Horton Hears a Who with $45 Million.
At least within this example, traffic to a film's stand-alone promotional website is a fairly accurate indicator of Opening Weekend Box Office relative to other blockbusters in the category. Thanks, IMDB. [If only The Dark Knight hadn't spread it's promotions over half a dozen URLs, we could really make some comparisons.]
Which films have you seen promoted heavily on the Web that later became smash-hits on opening weekend at the box office? Any ideas of those that tanked despite heavy promotion on stand-alone websites? Let us know in the comments.