Social Media Predicts Film Success

By Samuel Boyd

Just how important is social media in the film universe? Well apparently it’s pretty important. Or at least that appears to be where the relationship is heading.

Two recent examples of social media and its effect on the film industry have created some sort of notice to producers and reporters that social media can play a role in the box office.


The “Get Out” Challenge has taken social media by storm. – Photo Courtesy of YouTube

Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, “Get Out,” almost perfectly turned race relations into a terrifying premise. Its box office success is due in part to its content and its quality. But another thing helping the film is its ability to trend on social media.

This article shows how replications of a scene from the film’s trailer have become a viral sensation. That sort of viral success can in turn generate a larger profit by bringing more people into the social proximity of the film. Many producers ask what it takes to spark the interest of the younger, less attentive audience. And the answer is simply put here: Associating with something that can easily trend.

Another example is the casting of the Netflix film “Death Note.” The movie, based off an insanely popular anime, has replaced its originally Asian cast with mostly white actors. Fans of the original series immediately took to their social media accounts to criticize the casting decision and express interest in boycotting it.

Comparing the races of the new version (left) and the original (right). – Photo Courtesy of Elite Daily 

Already, Netflix is expecting a loss in profit due to the criticisms: The fans they assumed would be the primary audience for the film are more than distancing themselves from the project.

Similar issues have happened even more recently with the film “Ghost in the Shell.” Once again based off a popular anime, the cast is comprised of mostly white actors, notably the main character to be played by Scarlett Johansson. The $170 million budget is expected to be greatly lost when the film finally hits the box office due to bad social media publicity.

Whether intentional or not, social media can predict the success of a film. Perhaps producers will pay attention to this for future projects.



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UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism