Website Box Office Pro released their very early and very preliminary box office predictions for The Rise of Skywalker last Friday. And while these numbers are very tentative it’s still worth looking at them and then to see how The Rise of Skywalker is actually trending on Google and YouTube. So click through for a very early outlook on The Rise of Skywalker’s box office success and how the movie is trending one week after the trailer was released! The results are certainly interesting!
Box Office Pro has these very early predictions for The Rise of Skywalker:
Opening Weekend Range: $185 – 225 million
Domestic Total Range: $550 – 750 million
As you can see according to these predictions TROS could end up making either $100 less or about $100 more than The Last Jedi. And with the current prediction chances are that while the opening weekend will still be huge it will most likely not be as huge as The Last Jedi’s opening weekend, when it made $220 million.
So these are the numbers from Box Office Pro. They also have a list of pros and cons regarding Rise of Skywalker’s box office success, you will find the source link further down below if you want to know their take on what speaks for and against the movie at the box office.
What I want to focus on now is how The Rise of Skywalker is tracking online, namely Google and YouTube. Now, this is not scientific, but tracking on social media, search engines and video platforms IS used by analysts to predict box office (on top of other data from other sources).
So how does The Rise of Skywalker compare to The Last Jedi? I will look at various things here.
I want to focus on YouTube first, namely, how “Last Jedi” and “Rise of Skywalker” and then how “Last Jedi Trailer” and “Rise of Skywalker trailer” were trending in the first week after each respective trailer was released.
But first some numbers:
Total trailer views on YouTube on the official Star Wars channel:
The Last Jedi: 53,837,043
The Rise of Skywalker: 24,034,024
Now, the trailer for Last Jedi was released two years ago and had much more time to accumulate views. But then again most YouTube videos get the majority of their views in the first few days. Let’s say Rise of Skywalker got 75% of its views in the first week, with the remaining 25% added until the movie opens. Then Rise of Skywalker trailer would end up with about 30 million views on the Star Wars YouTube channel. If we assume that it only accumulated 60% of its views in its first week then it will end up with about 33.5 million views.
So it seems very likely that interest in the Last Jedi trailer was much stronger! The Last Jedi will have 20-24 million more views if we add the Rise of Skywalker trailer views until release date. Most people no longer check out trailers after the movie release date and the view count will not change very significantly anymore after that.
So let’s look at the actual trend data. The trend data does measure the “popularity” of a search term, NOT necessarily the popularity of a topic, you can search for something for any number of reasons.
The first graph shows you the trend for both “Last Jedi” and “Rise of Skywalker”. These are very general search terms, the way Google collects data means that both “The Last Jedi” and “The Rise of Skywalker” or “The Last Jedi trailer” and “The Rise of Skywalker trailer” will also be counted. So this should give you an overall idea of how each of the two movies trended on YouTube!
This looks at the worldwide trend – but it’s virtually the same if I just select the USA. I marked several spikes for easier identification, so you know what was going on. It has to be pointed out that The Last Jedi only got a behind the scenes sizzle reel for D23 in 2017, while the Rise of Skywalker D23 reel can be considered a teaser trailer.
But overall you can see that The Rise of Skywalker comes nowhere even close to trending on YouTube when compared to The Last Jedi. So the overall YouTube trend reflects the much lower view count for The Rise of Skywalker. Which makes sense, the less people search for something on YouTube, the fewer views something will get.
Now let’s take a look at a more specific search, “Last Jedi trailer” and “Rise of Skywalker trailer”, as before, searches with “the” etc are included here.
I assume that the people searching for “Last Jedi Trailer” or “Rise of Skywalker trailer” are correlated to the overall number of people who watched the trailer. Meaning, the more people want to check out the trailer, the more people will also search for “movie title trailer”.
And the trend for “Rise of Skywalker trailer” is even weaker than when we just look at “Rise of Skywalker”, it reaches a mere fraction of the Last Jedi trend. One explanation may always be that The Rise of Skywalker got more views on platforms like Twitter or Facebook or that people watched the embedded video on another website and didn’t search for it on YouTube. But then again, the same can be said for The Last Jedi as well. I think it’s doubtful that in two years people stopped watching trailers on YouTube en masse and prefer Twitter and Facebook now. But I have no data about that so it’s always possible that this may be a factor here. Keep that in mind.
And finally a very quick look at the Google Trend!
This is the catch all trend for both movies, Google also counts searches that add “the” or “trailer” etc. And yes, some people may use Yahoo or Bing, but all market share statistics say that Google is a quasi monopoly when it comes to searches on the web. Close to 90% in the US, more than 90% in Europe.
The Google trend mirrors the YouTube trend, at least on both YouTube and Google Rise of Skywalker is trending significantly less than The Last Jedi.
Now the same trend but with the more specific “trailer” added”. And once again, this mirrors the YouTube trend. The peaks for both SWCC and D23 are somewhat more pronounced for Rise of Skywalker on Google.
You can also see that interest in the trailer cuts off to almost zero once the movie is released. Just to show you that most of the trailer views will be accumulated until a movie’s release.
And finally a look at the global trend for just “Star Wars”, this time instead of looking at search term, I selected “topic”, which will accumulate all Star Wars releated searches!
I included Force Awakens here, the trailer for TFA has more than 100 million views on the Star Wars YouTube channel alone. About twice as many as The Last Jedo. And this is clearly reflected in the overall trend for Star Wars on Google.
So what does this tell us? Google or YouTube trend data is just that. Trend data. However, when correlated to the actual views for each trailer I believe you can make the assumption that interest in The Rise of Skywalker seems to be, for one reason or another, significantly lower than for The Last Jedi. Also, the global trend for Star Wars is still downwards.
We will have to see how that translates into Rise of Skywalker’s box office success. But I believe neither Disney nor we fans should be too surprised if Rise of Skywalker earns less than The Last Jedi at the box office. Because, at least when we look at YouTube and Google, interest in the movie is just not as pronounced as it was in 2017 for The Last Jedi. Even if we just look at the trend data from before the movie was released and all the controversies started.
And while the YouTube “Fandom Menace” will have little to no effect on box office results (see Captain Marvel), since they only speak for hardcore fans who are not as numerous when compared to the number of average moviegoers, who are happy to see the latest popcorn flick, it seems that this time the more casual fans may have lost interest in Star Wars in the past few years. I have no other explanation for the very weak Rise of Skywalker trend on Google and YouTube.
So maybe Box Office Pro is actually still too optimistic here. Of course they also use other things to track the movie, social media, for example. Chances are The Rise of Skywalker will do decent money, but it may underperform and make even less than The Last Jedi. Disney may not be too happy about that. Of course we still have another two months to go, maybe the marketing campaign will raise more awareness for the movie. It will certainly be a very interesting opening weekend in December! And let’s not forget that Jumanji opens just one week before and that Cats releases on the same day even.
So, what do you think? Do you think the Google/YouTube trend reflects real life? What are your ancectodal observations at work/university/at home?
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