In our Brooklyn Brothers Cultural Brainfood, I was suprised to see the difference between Avatar 3D’s first weekend takings of $27m and Call of Duty’s first day takings of $360m. It's not suprising to see this difference given the price difference between the two. I am assuming Avatar tickets were on sale at $10, so thats 2.7m viewers and Call of Duty were at $49.99, so that’s 7.2m purchasers.
So why almost 3x the numbers to Call of Duty?
Well, a recent article highlights that games are pulling the male audience away from the cinema. This means that it isn’t just the single male viewing experience that suffers, but the shared viewing experience as well. It therefore triggers a decline in female numbers too.
Secondly, Avatar did not have a pre-existing community to tie itself into. The level of hype was high, but the level of expectation was low. 3D was anticipated but not everyone understood what the experience would be like. It was only once people had left the cinema, that the word spread not before.
Call of Duty tapped into a pre-existing community. One which had already broke records for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 only a year earlier. It meant that “all” the makers had to do was produce a good game, seed trailers, generate buzz amongst gamesmasters and there job was effectively done. (It also meant that the level of takings increased to $650m over the first five days.)
So what are movies doing to penetrate pre-existing communities? Well, if you look at current trends, Music, a decent soundtrack, seems to be the chosen path.
By tapping into cult bands and producers, movies are generating just as much hype around their soundtrack as they do around the film. This hype allows them to tell the story of the film to this pre-existing communities without having to endlessly run trailers or cast interviews.
Plus and I think equally importantly it allows them to get into hand quicker and into home quicker. By releasing elements of the soundtrack like Daft Punk did on Radio1 for Tron, it builds an audience before the main launch in cinemas.
Here are the top 3 Current Soundtracks with visual reference:
Hanna – Chemical Brothers. Good to see The Chemical Brothers back in the action and it is a belting soundtrack.
Tron – Daft Punk. A seminal soundtrack, the remixes weren’t bad either. This one has done 2.9m views.
LA Noire – Produced by Gang Starr’s DJ Premier it’s a bit of a 40s inspired audio feast.