During the pandemic, many industry pundits claimed the movie theater experience was gone baby gone. They suggested movie fans would choose at-home streaming over a theater experience exclusively for new releases. However, the movie theater industry has experienced a resurgence thanks to big-budget blockbuster films, from Top Gun and Avatar to Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as growing interest for movie fans to share their experiences in full cinematic glory.
When it comes to generating buzz between in-person and streaming, new MarketCast social media data gives a big thumbs up to studios making theatrical releases part of their distribution plan. In fact, according to MarketCast’s 2023 Streaming Tracker, theatrical releases drive eight times the social buzz than streaming-only releases.
Of course, different types of movies will inherently generate more buzz, such as superhero franchises, big-budget blockbusters, and even horror films (nothing enhances the movie-watching experience like screaming in terror with a room full of strangers).
But digging a bit deeper, our data also shows theatrical buzz creates a halo effect for streaming releases. Streaming releases that were in theaters first generated three times more social media buzz than direct-to-streaming releases.
Speaking of new releases, the MarketCast Social Research experts checked out the social volume surrounding a few big summer titles. Fast X and The Little Mermaid are the top two most talked about film releases for May, with Across the Spider-Verse topping social mentions for the first weekend of June.
The latest installment in the Fast & Furious series received a bump in social conversations after the news that Dwayne Johnson would be reprising his role as Hobbs and K-Pop BTS star Jimin would be featured on the soundtrack.
Families and nostalgic adults are also looking forward to the latest live-action Disney movie, The Little Mermaid, while Spider-Man fans celebrate the much-anticipated Spider-Verse sequel after the first film built a passionate and loyal following.
Meanwhile, the live-action Barbie movie is drawing widespread interest from mainstream audiences and nostalgic Barbie doll fans alike. The upcoming movie has gone viral on social multiple times following its trailer and meme-able posters, amassing over 900K mentions. The social response has also been overwhelmingly positive, with many praising Margot Robbie’s Barbie, expressing nostalgia for the childhood callbacks (i.e., Barbie’s outfits, roller skates, sports car, etc.), and sharing interest in the soundtrack.
Get out and enjoy a movie this summer. And if you want to learn more about our streaming, theatrical, and social research, contact us.