How Analytics Turned Warcraft from a Flop into a Box Office Juggernaut

A movie theater

Historically, Hollywood isn’t known to use analytics aggressively to predict movie success. Much of the US entertainment industry is arguably reluctant to capitalize on Big Data to reduce the likelihood of bombing in the box office. Just ask storyfit.com.

Except for streaming companies, such as Netflix and Hulu, many film executives continue to rely mostly on intuition and traditional marketing when making and promoting movies.

In 2016, America saw the glaring disparity in box office results when you use and not use advanced analytics in the process. Legendary Entertainment’s Warcraft bombed in the US after generating only $24 million but made history in China after raking in $156 million in five days — the all-time largest opening for a foreign-produced film.

Despite its failure, the blockbuster with a budget of $160 million miraculously made over $430 million worldwide, thanks to analytics.

Data Collection

One of the main reasons Warcraft took China by storm is because the studio’s analytics team had the privilege of tapping movie-fan data early. Unlike in America, the film company had easy access to detailed information about those who buy tickets in advance. Chinese moviegoers enjoy early-bird prices.

Digital Advertising

Gleaning insights from high-quality data, the team was able to come up with profiles of the moviegoers that might like and watch Warcraft on the big screen. They homed in on similar fans using a database built from a variety of sources.

Then, they divided the demographic into microsegments. This allowed the company to advertise the film through search, social media, and display advertising. On the contrary, most the film outfit’s marketing efforts in the US focused on television.

Real-Time Response to New Data

After releasing trailers, the team closely watched how the audience received them. They make the necessary changes in messaging to compel prospective moviegoers to buy a ticket.

Throughout the company’s months-long marketing campaign, the data team constantly analyzed new data and responded to the information relentlessly promote the blockbuster before and during the release.

Analytics is not the only factor in the Warcraft’s jaw-dropping success. However, its case is nevertheless worth studying to reduce the chances of any big-budget entertainment projects from tanking.