Summer movie season is here and this year’s blockbusters include something for everyone. As the summer heats up, we’re all looking for the movies heating up the box office. From comedies to thrillers to sequels and reboots, we looked into the top summer movies of 2017 so far, as well as the themes coming out of the hottest movies, and the brands that are best fit for the summer blockbusters.

A trend presenting itself in the summer blockbusters this year is all of the most socially engaging movies are either reboots or sequels. The trend highlights a new strategy that film studios have adopted, in which they are investing more money into fewer films. Wonder Woman stood out among this year’s summer blockbusters, topping the list as the must-see summer movie generating the most social buzz 1 week after its release.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 had a notable release, surpassing Wonder Woman in box office sales in the week following its premiere. Spider Man, which was more highly anticipated than Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, fell behind in both social engagements and box office sales. Yet, Spider Man did manage to generate more box office sales in its first week than Wonder Woman. Furthermore, in terms of box office sales during premiere weeks, Despicable Me 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales took spots number four and five, respectively.

 

Clearly, audiences are loving the opportunity to watch a female superhero dominate the world and the box office. Wonder Woman also tops the chart for the highest positive sentiment at 81% on social, with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 not far behind.

However, Wonder Woman does not even come close to the top of the list for the most promoted movie of the summer. Wonder Woman aired less than half as many trailers as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 did. As a result, Wonder Woman did not see very high engagement rates until its release date, on June 2nd, which were impressively high. Engagements dropped after the release date, but have remained consistently high in comparison to engagements before the movie premiered.

On the other hand, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 saw high engagement rates in the week leading up to its premiere. Engagement reached its peak on May 5th, when the movie released and then decreased to lower engagement than the movie had before its premiere.

Wonder Woman’s lack of promotion did not seem to have a strong impact on its sales or engagements. However, the anticipation for a female-directed movie about a female superhero likely made Wonder Woman an exception as well as its breakthrough social buzz following its premiere which is likely contributing to its continued box office success. Most films with greater promotion saw higher engagement the week prior to release and more success in the box office than the films that were not advertised as heavily.

Marvel and Disney did not do anything out of the ordinary in their marketing strategy for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Instead, they used a balanced, multi-channel approach to their marketing schedule and campaign that has proven to be effective. There are 3 main takeaways from Marvel’s promotion of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and its related success.

The first has to do with effective timing for heightened promotional efforts. As with most film studios, Marvel increased its marketing activities the week before Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was released.

The second take-away is that the film studio promoted what they knew would make people see their film. This included making it very well known that it was a Marvel film and announcing that the sequel would be made into a comic, as well.

The final thing Marvel did that contributed to their success was to allow people to interact and connect with the characters before the release. Marvel advertised the new characters, who were not included in the first film, on social media, posters, and trailers, so people were able to recognize the characters before they even saw the movie. And, they used the Marvel website to provide people with more in depth details of the film.

It is important for brands to align with consumer interests including the movies and studios that are engaging their consumers. We used the 4C Insights Affinity Graph™ to match brands to the biggest movies of the summer. People engaging with Wonder Woman are also engaging with skincare brand Olay, while those engaging with Guardians of the Galaxy are engaging with Geico.

At 4C, we are always watching out for trends that can impact brands marketing campaigns and social media engagement. Stay tuned for more key insights on marketing across TV and social media by subscribing to the 4C Newsletter.