Piedmont Media Research Predicts Summer 2013 Movie Hits and Misses

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Hugh Jackman, Billy Crystal and Steve Carell Vehicles Expected to Out-Earn Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges’ Major Summer Offering

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“Instead of throwing money at a film or an actor and hoping for the best, there is a better, more analytic way to determine beforehand if a film is worth making.”

Piedmont Media Research, a motion picture consumer research firm, has released the results of its most recent testing for summer 2013 films, predicting the upcoming winners and losers for this summer’s Box Office.

According to Piedmont’s Consumer Engagement (TM) metric, the highest scoring upcoming summer 2013 films that are slated to perform very well at the box office include The Wolverine, starring Hugh Jackman, Monsters University voiced by Billy Crystal, and the Steve Carell sequel Despicable Me 2. Meanwhile, one big budget film scoring notably low is R.I.P.D., starring Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges.

“R.I.P.D. looks easily to be the big summer bomb,” noted Piedmont president Josh Lynn. “The film scored less than half as high as most big budget summer blockbusters typically do. Looking at our past testing, the film scored in the range of Battleship and slightly lower than Cowboys & Aliens, for a very weak projected opening weekend of $24-$28 million.”

Piedmont uses its proprietary Consumer Engagement system to objectively test the strength of moviegoers’ personal connections to films that ultimately determine how a general release movie will perform. Over the past three years, Piedmont’s overall statistical accuracy has been nearly 90 percent.

The Consumer Engagement metric tests the strength of audience attachment in the initial stages of development, and is accessible to producers for concept testing well before any investment is made. Piedmont vice president of strategic planning Jason Olson said, “The metric can also be broken down to the specific demographic groups a studio must target in order to better determine not only who will see a film, but also which audience segments must additionally be pursued. Data on these segments include age, gender, ethnicity, income, geographical region and education, among others.

“Looking closer at the demographics, there are distinct and similar weaknesses with two big budget films, R.I.P.D. and Pacific Rim,” Olson continued. “While Pacific Rim rates better among men, both films perform very poorly among females of all ages, scoring just a third as well in that demographic as Marvel’s The Wolverine, for example. And with females making up 52 percent of the movie ticket-buying population, studios must tailor their marketing strategies to reach out to them, if they want their films to fully succeed.”

Piedmont’s latest consumer research study also tested audience response to specific actors’ connection to upcoming projects. By comparing the Consumer Engagement score of a film both with and without actors’ names attached, the company quantitatively analyzes the financial benefit or harm an actor will bring to a particular film.

“According to our Consumer Engagement research, R.I.P.D actually lost 6 percentage points when Reynolds and Bridges’ names were attached to the project,” Piedmont’s Lynn said. “In contrast, Runner, Runner, starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake and 2 Guns, with Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, each gained more than 30 percent once the actors’ names were attached to those specific projects.” Once these numbers are formulated, the company is then able to use a regression analysis to model the specific dollar amount a given actor is actually worth in any particular project.

“Instead of throwing money at a film or an actor and hoping for the best, there is a better, more analytic way to determine beforehand if a film is worth making, if it’s worth making with a particular actor, and at what specific dollar value,” added Lynn. “The Consumer Engagement metric has a higher correlation to opening weekend box office than any other variable tested over a 15-year period including genre, budget, and quality. It’s more predictive and able to be used from an earlier point in time, in order to more effectively determine the financial success of a film.”

About Piedmont Media Research

Piedmont Media Research is a consumer research company specializing in the motion picture field. The firm uses statistical analysis involving its proprietary Consumer Engagement metric to accurately gauge the strength of audience connections to a film property beginning as early as the concept level, to determine a film’s level of success. Analysis based upon this metric is used to help companies determine which films to invest in, at what specific level to make strategic financing decisions, and to determine a film’s demographic base and ensuing marketing strategies. For additional information, log onto http://www.piedmontmedia.com.

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