For those who say the era of the box office star is over, June 28 is primed to become an exception to that new rule.
The contenders: Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy headline The Heat (from Bridesmaids director, Paul Feig), while Jaime Foxx and Channing Tatum lead Roland Emmerich's White House Down. Here's how they're stacking up in our weekly social network analysis:
Twitter activity over the past five days has been slow for The Heat, but deceivingly so. Its 597 tweets yielded an impressive 22.8-to-1 positive-to-negative ratio. While the volume itself significantly trails McCarthy's last hit, Identity Thief, by a wide margin, the film is slowly gaining traction on 2011's mid-summer hard-R comedy, Horrible Bosses.
The Heat also performed 366 percent ahead of 2011's Bridesmaids. Either way, the overall lower activity can mostly be attributed to the fact that Fox has only just begun the flick's marketing campaign.
Identity Thief: 3,097 tweets
Horrible Bosses: 1,780 tweets
The Heat: 597 tweets
Bridesmaids: 128 tweets
By contrast, Sony's early marketing push for White House Down has started paying off. The actioner's 4,352 tweets were in line with Tatum's 21 Jump Street at the same point in the pre-release cycle, though about 25 percent below that of Olympus Has Fallen and 28 percent behind Foxx's Django Unchained. The most alarming metric was its 1.8-to-1 positive-to-negative comments ratio.
Django Unchained: 6,034 tweets
Olympus Has Fallen: 5,815 tweets
21 Jump Street: 4,671 tweets
White House Down: 4,352 tweets
G.I. Joe: Retaliation: 1,032 tweets
Facebook fan rankings paint an entirely different picture for The Heat as opposed to Twitter. Its 194,710 "likes" through June 5 represented a strong 14 percent increase from five days prior. Moreover, it's significantly ahead of other comparison films--including a 136 percent advantage over Bridesmaids. Universal's Horrible Bosses was barely even charting on Facebook at the same point.
The Heat: 194,710 fans
Bridesmaids: 82,516 fans
Identity Thief: 39,553 fans
Horrible Bosses: 841 fans
Ditto for White House Down. Emmerich's flick boasted 269,252 fans on June 5 (though that marked a more modest 7.1 jump percent from five days earlier). Olympus Has Fallen was nearly 76 percent behind that pace. (Note: we're excluding the G.I. Joe sequel here because Facebook fan totals include numbers for previous franchise installments.)
White House Down: 269,252 fans
Django Unchained: 186,848 fans
21 Jump Street: 86,873 fans
Olympus Has Fallen: 64,937 fans
Lastly, Flixster offers more encouraging signs for the Bullock-McCarthy team-up. The Heat's 15,836 anticipating voters already tops the final number on the day before Identity Thief's release by 3.8 percent. It also carries a near-identical 3.9 percent lead over Horrible Bosses on its final day of the pre-release window.
Meanwhile, White House Down's 18,990 anticipating voters represents an 82.8 percent increase over Olympus Has Fallen on its day before release, though about 78 percent behind the 86,378 count of Django Unchained on Christmas Eve.
Overall, Fox and Sony can be pleased about the direction of increasing interest in their respective films. The Heat promises to be the first film of the summer squarely targeting women (and some men), while men (and some women) could be lured in by the potential of a new twist on the "buddy cop" movie with White House Down.
The battle will likely come down to how enthusiastic McCarthy's male and female fans are for another laugher (the fourth major comedy of the summer) versus how eager Tatum's male and female fans are for another White House-related thriller in the wake of March's Olympus Has Fallen.
The BoxOffice team is currently forecasting a very close race between the two films on opening weekend with $40 million for White House Down and $37 million for The Heat. That being said, we expect the latter to leg-out significantly with a projected $152 million domestic total--versus $112 million for White House Down.
We'll continue to closely analyze the buzz and update our forecast if necessary for these heavyweight titles as their June 28 release approaches.
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The White House Down trailer:
The Heat trailer: