Hollywood is an enormous business and, in order to insure its success, entertainment companies must know their customers. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 dominated micro-blogging social network Twitter on Thanksgiving and in the following weekend. This movie was followed by Skyfall and the newly released Rise of the Guardians as findings from the University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg Innovation Lab and the IBM Film Forecaster, a Social Sentiment Index show.
This project combines sophisticated analytics and natural language processing technologies in order to reveal the public opinion regarding a given subject. In this case, the Social Sentiment Index was used to show what moviegoers have to say about the films they watched during Thanksgiving weekend. More than five million tweets posted during 11 days were subject to the analysis, and the project compared Twilight: Breaking Dawn to the evaluation of other important movies such as Skyfall, Wreck-It Ralph, Flight, and The Man with the Iron Fists, all released two weeks before Twilight. Also included in this analysis were the sentiments in regards to the newly launched movies Life of Pi, Red Dawn, and Rise of the Guardians.
Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 generated approximately USD 64 million in ticket sales during the Wednesday-Sunday holiday weekend, which accounted for 22% of the total revenue for the biggest Hollywood holiday weekend on record. But the Twitter analysis showed another situation. Twilight topped Twitterverse with 4.25 million tweets compared to Skyfall which had only 700,000 tweets, but the positive sentiment dropped from 90% (in the pre-release) to 75% on Saturday. There was also a negative sentiment concerning the fact that this is the last episode of the series. The new James Bond movie, Skyfall, maintained a positive tweets direction, as well as Red Dawn (96% positive average), Life of Pi (91%) and Rise of the Guardians at 99%.
On Thanksgiving Day, Rise of the Guardians was the movie with the highest number of positive tweets, followed by The Man with the Iron Fists and Red Dawn.
“In the past, box office receipts indicated success or failure. Thanks to advances in analytics, movie makers now have the ability to analyze the public sentiments of their viewers in real time,” said Professor Jonathan Taplin, Director of the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab. “With technologies such as the Film Forecaster, movie studios such as Lionsgate can go beyond receipts, to truly understand the voice of the crowd.”
“Today, Box Office results and industry accolades are not the sole drivers of recognition across the movie community – real-time audience sentiment is a strong factor too,” said Steve Canepa, General Manager of Media and Entertainment, IBM. “Organizations in the Media and Entertainment industry are now taking advantage of big data to better understand their audience and to deliver better products, services and marketing campaigns that ultimately drive greater results for their business.”
It is interesting to see how movies are perceived by moviegoers and the way sentiments around them evolve in time. This project was meant to show how advanced analytics technologies applied to big data can enable CMOs in various fields, like sports, entertainment, retail, etc., to discover valuable insights from online public sentiment. This could be a next step in analyzing social media (and not only) data in order to provide companies with a type of information which was already used in traditional media, where many PR professionals were analyzing the position media publications have in regards to their companies.