This past weekend, the streets of southern California were flooded with thousands upon thousands of movie, comic book, and TV fans for the annual San Diego Comic-Con (otherwise known as the Comic-Con of all comic-cons). Also in attendance were hundreds of media brands ready to debut their latest trailers and teasers for upcoming releases, a yearly tradition which causes fans to wait hours — and many times days — in line just so they can see these clips first. This year, brands like Universal Pictures and Warner Bros.owned DC Comics and Legendary Pictures took center stage with trailers covering everything from new superhero flicks to magical wizards!
But which of these trailers, across all the media brands present at Comic-Con, had the biggest impact over the course of the weekend event? We teamed up with talent management firm United Talent Agency (UTA) and analytics company comScore to find out! Here’s what we discovered, along with a few insights into why these particular trailers may have performed so well over the course of three days. (Note: The data below includes both official and user-generated content across both YouTube and Facebook, measured by their average 3-day view counts, i.e. V3 stats, and ranked by highest social conversations).
YouTube views: 47 million
Facebook views: 52.5 million
Movie release date: December 21, 2018
DC’s Aquaman trailer was the most-watched preview of any clip from SDCC media vendors this year, with a whopping 53M Facebook views and 47M YouTube views. The top-performing clip was the official trailer uploaded to Warner Bros. Pictures’ YouTube channel on July 21st — it pulled in about 26.9 million views alone, with 24.4 million arriving in the first three days. Not only did the Aquaman trailer pull in the most views, it also generated the most social media conversations at more than 369K impressions! The buzz around this particular trailer could be attributed to a couple of factors. First of all, the character of Aquaman was already introduced in both Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, which has viewers primed for his solo movie. Second, despite mostly negative reception of those films, fans seem excited to see actor Jason Momoa perform in his own flick, with some believers even claiming he and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman will redeem the entire DCEU.
#2 Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
YouTube views: 12.4 million
Facebook views: 31.7 million
Movie release date: November 16, 2018
Next up we have the trailer for another Warner Bros. flick Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Set in the Harry Potter universe and with a screenplay from author J.K. Rowling herself, this fans are clearly excited to see this magical world continue to grow through the upcoming Fantastic Beasts 2 movie, with a nearly perfect 98.4% positive reaction on social media across almost 164K impressions (the highest positive reaction of the top five trailers of SDCC)! The most-watched clip for this film hailed from the official Fantastic Beasts Facebook page, which saw 8.7 million views and a matching V3 despite being just 15 seconds long — fans apparently want to watch anything they can get their hands on at this point.
YouTube views: 36.2 million
Facebook views: 36.1 million
Movie release date: April 5, 2019
It seems Warner Bros. could do no wrong at this year’s Comic-Con! The movie company boasted the second most-watched trailer in terms of views from its upcoming superhero film Shazam! starring Zachary Levi. Unlike the previous two films we’ve looked at, though, the most-watched Shazam! trailer didn’t come from an official Warner Bros. outlet; instead, the top clip came from the FilmSelect Trailer YouTube channel and pulled in 12.1 million total views and a high V3 of 11.3 million. Also, while the film’s combined trailers generated about half as many social conversations as Fantastic Beasts 2 at just over 93K, landing it third on this chart, those impressions were still very positive at 95.1%, a higher percentage than those of the Aquaman reactions.
YouTube views: 11.9 million
Facebook views: 32.7 million
Movie release date: January 18, 2019
Here’s where Universal comes into the picture (pun intended). The studios’ upcoming horror-thriller Glass from director M. Night Shyamalan boasted the second-highest positive reaction on social media at a solid 98% across 60K impressions. The film also had the third most-watched trailers across all publishers and platforms. The top clip hailed from Facebook page Inside Look from GameSpot, where it saw 9.9 million views and a very high V3 of 9.2 million. Some of these positive reactions could come from not just the film’s popular actors (it stars Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, and James McAvoy), but the fact that Glass is the third in the Unbreakable trilogy; as such, it’s set to bring together the storylines and characters of these performers previously established in Shyamalan’s films Unbreakable and Split. It’s hard to beat the power of three.
#5 Godzilla 2: King of the Monsters
YouTube views: 24.6 million
Facebook views: 13.3 million
Movie release date: May 31, 2019
Finally, we come to Godzilla 2: King of the Monsters, the Warner Bros. sequel to the 2014 version of Godzilla. Starring big names like Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Ken Watanabe, and Stranger Things’s Milly Bobbie Brown, fans are eager to see the silver screen return of the famous Japanese monster. With the third-highest positive reaction on social media (95.6%) from just over 38K impressions, this made Godzilla 2 the fifth most-watched and most-talked about film at SDCC 2018. Its most-watched clip? That came from the official Warner Bros. YouTube channel, where it raked in 14.7 million views and a V3 of 11.4 million.
So what’s the lesson here? For those in the movie industry, it’s that you need to pay attention to the massive impact Comic-Con can have on generating loads of buzz around your upcoming releases vs. throwing a trailer out at any other time in the year and seeing how it performs. The San Diego-based event should be a given in any movie or TV marketer’s calendar to drive awareness and excitement, while the event can also help sponsors and related brands realize the incredible potential for partnerships, media coverage, and SDCC-based content of their own!