Summer Movies 2019: Can Trailers Predict Box Office Success?

Summer Movies 2019: Can Trailers Predict Box Office Success?

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Just in time for the temperature to spike and the chilly inside of the theater to regain its appeal, summer movies 2019 season is here. This year offers an especially wide selection for viewers to choose from, spanning from action to comedy to horror and everything in between.

Thanks to today’s ubiquitous social streams, viewers can preview more movies more frequently without sitting through a single “coming attractions” reel. Simply by checking out trailer views and engagement on upcoming films for the summer movies 2019 season, we’ll try to predict if they’ll be blockbusters… or just busts. 

Here is a list of the most highly anticipated summer movies of 2019 as they are released, plus insights on their social footprints and subsequent box office results. (Note: we’ll update this list each week after new releases and initial box office results are in!)

Summer Movies 2019 List

Aladdin (May 24)

Disney kicks off the season with a live-action redo of its nostalgic ‘90s animated film. Although there were some raised eyebrows about Will Smith’s big blue Genie role before release, critics quickly warmed up to the film’s energetic musical numbers.

Name recognition certainly had a role in this preview’s 42.6M views since it was uploaded to YouTube in March. While initially, the trailer got the most traffic through Will Smith’s Instagram post about it, the video indicated real staying power with steadily increasing YouTube hits.

Sure enough, the box office results reflect this early hype. On its first weekend, Aladdin topped the box office results with a $91.5M total domestic release.

Booksmart (May 24)

Actress Olivia Wilde makes her directorial debut with the story of two academic overachievers who vow to use the last night of high school to finally live it up. This relatable coming-of-age tale received an impressive 97% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

With a strict R rating and the content to justify it, Booksmart’s official trailer netted 11.2M views on YouTube with and 8,700 engagements.

During its opening weekend, however, Booksmart failed to outsmart the competition, landing at #6 at the box office with a total domestic release figure of $6.9M.

Brightburn (May 24)

A grisly take on the superhero genre, Brightburn features a caped crusader who is less on board with saving innocent people and more interested in going on a killing spree. This horrific interpretation of Superman was too out there for some, and the film received lukewarm reviews.

The first official trailer did better than subsequent trailers, earning a modest 18.6K views, but engagements didn’t top 1,000.

Sure enough, the box office reflected this lackluster reception, with a $7.8M opening weekend.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (May 31)

Arguably the world’s most iconic monster, Godzilla teamed up with pals like Mothra and more for this momentous flick. Unlike its predecessor, 1956’s Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, this modern take was coolly received and critiqued for replacing storytelling with all-out action.

Views peaked with the final official trailer, which netted 19.7M views on YouTube. An impressive 290K engagements may explain why viewership stayed steady even a month after the upload.

With a $47.7M domestic opening weekend, it was #1 in the box office. It seems that in this case, monster movie fans didn’t much care what the critics thought.

Rocketman (May 31)

Following the path paved by Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman brought to life the story of Elton John’s career. In terms of critical acclaim, it surpassed its Queen predecessor significantly, with an 89% Rotten Tomatoes score (compared to Bohemian’s 61%.)

With 16.7M views on YouTube, most of the engagement focuses on the trailer’s soundtrack. Meanwhile, on Facebook, the same trailer had 5.6M views, the majority of which hit on the first day the video was uploaded before petering off.

The film’s opening weekend netted $25.7M, far exceeding analysts’ expectations.

Dark Phoenix (June 7)

The latest chapter in the X-Men saga, this film documents the evolution and subsequent chaotic downturn of one of its most beloved characters, Jean Grey. Unfortunately, her story made history for all the wrong reasons, as the worst-reviewed film in the X-Men franchise.

The movie’s final trailer performed significantly better than any prior trailers, netting 18.1M views. Almost all of these views occurred within the first week after the video was uploaded.

The film’s opening weekend made $32.8M which sounds OK until you realize that makes it the first X-Men movie to open below $50M.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco (June 7)

This Sundance Film Festival wunderkind tells a comic-tragic story about gentrification when its protagonist attempts to buy back the Victorian house his grandfather built. This sleeper release didn’t begin to rack up significant trailer views until the movie was already out.

On Facebook, the latest version of the trailer netted 99K views, with viewership fading three days after the movie was uploaded. The YouTube upload of the same video earned 29.9K views.

With a total domestic opening weekend of $235,272, this was a very niche offering indeed.

Late Night (June 7)

Mindy Kaling wrote and stars in this story of a woman brought on as a “diversity hire” at a late night comedy show inspired directly by events in Kaling’s own life. This Sundance Film Festival debut sold to Amazon, which leveraged its own name recognition to promote the movie.

The top-viewed version of the trailer is the one uploaded to YouTube by Amazon Studios, with 6.6M. No other official trailer upload has reached half that amount on any platform.

The movie’s wide opening weekend (following a limited opening) netted $5.5M, which at least made a profit over its reported $4M budget.

Pavarotti (June 7)

There was never going to be a standout crowd for a documentary about an operatic tenor, but this artistic film does its best to deliver. Even with overwhelmingly stellar critical reviews, the film was never meant to be much more than director Ron Howard’s passion project.

The official trailer netted 279K views on YouTube in a slow, steady uptick that lasted for about a month after the video was uploaded. Additionally, the Facebook version earned 129K views.

Pavarotti was #25 in the box office its opening weekend with a $144,032 domestic release.

The Dead Don’t Die (June 14)

A star-studded cast brings this zombie-focused comedy to life (or at least undeath). It’s fitting that every version of this effervescent film was uploaded on unofficial joke holiday April 1.

With co-uploads on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, Dead followed the movie norm with the YouTube video outperforming all others, with 10.3M views. The second-highest view count came from Twitter, which earned 4.2M views.

At the box office, the film ranked #12 with a $2.5M opening weekend.

Men In Black: International (June 14)

The fourth installment of this much-beloved franchise combines the star power and chemistry of Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson. Critics had high hopes for this action flick, but audiences weren’t equally hyped, and that apathy began online.

The second trailer uploaded to YouTube earned 14.3M views, which sounds impressive. However, most of those views came in the first three days and then plateaued.

This film had the lowest opening in its franchise by a difference of $20M, netting just $30M.

Paris Is Burning (June 14)

A digital restoration of a 1991 documentary, this film delves into Black and Latinx drag queen culture, showing how far the LGBT movement has come today.

Like other smaller releases on our list, this film found most of its views not on YouTube but on Facebook: 152K. It also demonstrated powerful longtail staying power, with views climbing dramatically after the trailer had already been posted for a week.

Its first weekend, in just 23 theaters, resulted in a modest $310,127 domestic opening.

Toy Story 4 (June 21)

It’s hard to believe, but Pixar managed to bottle lightning four times — critics are calling even this fourth installment of the family-friendly franchise a hit.

Viewers checked out the Toy Story 4 trailer in two surges: first, when it came out in May, and then again on opening day. Even while competing with dozens of toddler-friendly nursery rhyme videos capitalizing on its popularity, the trailer remains the topic’s top-viewed YouTube video.

Name recognition and positive reviews helped it become the biggest blockbuster of the summer so far, with a $120M opening: the Toy Story franchise’s largest opening weekend yet.

Yesterday (June 28)

A series of unlikely sci-fi circumstances leaves Jack the only person on Earth who remembers the Beatles. Critics didn’t have high hopes for this movie, but audiences felt differently: on Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 90% audience score compared to a 60% critical score.

Yesterday has the unfortunate search engine optimization flaw of sharing its name with a very common English word. That’s probably why its trailer performed poorly compared to its audience reception. Its top-viewed video doesn’t even come from its creator or studio (Universal), but in a tweet from music streaming influencer iHeartRadio.

However, the movie exceeded all critical expectations for a domestic opening of $17M.

Spider-Man: Far From Home (July 2)

This highly-anticipated superhero sequel seems to have charmed audiences as much as its predecessor. A combination of action and teen romance, it follows the events of Avengers: Endgame in a high stakes environment that confirms Marvel’s box office might.

The official movie trailer has earned 70.3M views in the past 90 days, but most of those views were in the first week it was posted on YouTube (37.8M). With the entirety of the Avengers franchise behind it, this film had audiences on board from early on.

Predictably, this movie was a hit. Spider-Man delivered a $185M domestic opening, the largest six-day opening for a Tuesday release on record.

Midsommar (July 3)

American tourists visit a picture-perfect Swedish village just in time for its midsummer festival, and that’s when things take a turn for the weird. Things go from nice to nightmarish quickly in this high-class horror film with an 82% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

This indie hit didn’t start out as far under the radar as director Ari Aster’s first horror film, Hereditary, in part thanks to that previous film’s success. Simultaneous uploads of the trailer netted 7.7M YouTube views, 3.8M Twitter views, and 2.2M Facebook views.

This creepy movie turned out to be the largest indie release of the year, landing just outside of the box office weekend top five with a $6.5M opening.

Make sure you come back to this article each week! We’ll be updating it to see how the summer movies 2019 season is faring in relation to movie trailers’ views and engagements.

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