Have We Reached a Tipping Point in our Ability to Care About the Summer Blockbuster?
Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron opens this weekend, and it seems a mathematical certainty it’ll enjoy record-shattering success at the box office. It’s predecessor, after all, made $1.5 billion worldwide and become the first Marvel movie to score $1 billion in box office receipts.
So why don’t online audiences care more about Avengers and other big budget blockbusters coming to a theater near you?
We have a few theories.
The Paul Rudd Effect
In what universe does Ant-Man top Avengers? Why the Internet, of course. Paul Rudd as one of Marvel’s more obscure super-heroes is a more intriguing prospect than just about any other summer movie, according to our data. Despite a troubled production history, there’s something about the idea of Paul Rudd in a weird ant mask that makes the Internet giggle with pleasure. Which sort of makes sense, if you think about it.
The franchises audience are asking for… and those they aren’t
So too have Magic Mike and Pitch Perfect been known to inspire the giggle in a certain type of audience, and if our data is any indication, their sequels are no-brainers for their studios. The cult-classic status of their predecessors bodes well for Magic Mike XXL and Pitch Perfect 2.
The franchises that hold less intrigue for audiences? Terminator, Entourage, Fantastic Four and Mad Max. You have to wonder: was anyone really asking for these movies?
There you go, Hollywood: More Magic Mike, Pitch Perfect and anything with Chris Pratt in it (only way to explain Jurassic World’s entry so high on the list), and less Ah-nold.
Avengers the Benchmark for Summer Movies in More Ways Than One
Avengers: Age of Ultron sits right at the benchmark for interest in summer movies — which seems about right; it’s the first big domino to fall this blockbuster season with a May 01 release date, and it’s the epitome of a summer blockbuster; it features not one but four Marvel superheroes with successful standalone franchises (if we’re being kind to the Hulk) and host of spin-off properties.
So really, people are as intrigued by Avengers as a topic as they are in summer movies in general.
Which is to say you’ll probably see it.
- The movies with May release dates tended to under-index (Pitch Perfect 2 is the exception). Exposure to more ads and trailers as a movie’s release date nears may actually decrease interest in reading further about it.
- The Man from U.N.C.L.E., a remake of a 60s British TV, and Straight Outta Compton, are both meant to appeal to niche audience, but those audiences have intense interest in those projects (my brother tells me that “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” was a popular rental at the DVD store he used to work at).
- More family-oriented fare like Pan and Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland significantly under-index. Cause for worry for Warner Bros. and Disney, respectively?
- Under-indexing in the audience intrigue department does not mean a movie won’t perform at or above expectation at the box office.
- But it’ll be interesting to find out.