Summer Blockbusters Are Lighting up Twitter for Disney, Universal, Fox

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- From dinosaurs to male strippers, this summer's blockbusters are getting loads of traction on Twitter. Whether social interaction over digital platforms will translate into outsized box-office sales remains unclear, but for the films' marketers it's a sign that they're doing their job.

Indeed, social media has become an essential part of any movie's marketing campaign, and some do it better than others. Getting the "conversation" going on Twitter and Facebook is a cost-effective way of creating and sustaining interest into a major new release. It's also a way for movie makers to counteract an increase in movie piracy, according to Hootsuite, a social media management site.

"Social media and its powers of viral marketing have ensured that the film industry stays afloat," a Hootsuite blog post said. "Not only does it generate massive buzz, but it connects fans directly with the film, producers, actors and other fans, while minimizing distribution and marketing costs in the process."

These five blockbusters from 21st Century Fox (FOXA), Disney (DIS), Time Warner Inc.'s (TWX) Warner Brothers, and Comcast's (CMCSA) NBC/Universal are among the most talked about on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere: 

Jurassic World: Chris Pratt is a motorcycle riding, dinosaur-training hero in yet another sequel to the 1993 Jurassic Park. Steven Speilberg, who directed the original movie, is the lead producer of Jurassic World, which Comcast's Universal is distributing.

Pratt stands to bring a large crowd of fans from his roles in Parks and Recreation and Guardians of the Galaxy to his newest film.

And those fans appear to be speaking out on social media. The new movie is set to be released Friday, June 12th and over the last seven days there have been over 141,000 tweets related to the movie, according to Topsy.com, a twitter analysis tool. Pratt himself has inspired 37,000 tweets in the last week. The star has even been using his personal account to promote the movie.

Universal, the studio behind Jurassic World and branch of Comcast, has been growing quickly. It netted $1.445 billion in revenue in the first quarter of 2015, up from $95 million from last year. Jurassic World is forecast to generate $303 million in U.S. box-office sales, offset by a budget of $150-190 million, according to BoxOffice.com.

At 384,000 Facebook likes, Jurassic World pales in comparison to its predecessors' Jurassic Park page with its 6.5 million likes. But the movie has taken advantage of its franchise recognition by taking over the Jurassic Park page, replacing the photos with scenes from the upcoming movies, and linking to the site of the new movie.

Inside Out: Even feelings have feelings in the newest animation movie from Disney. Inside Out is set to hit theaters on June 19 and follows the antics of personified emotions romping around the mind of a small girl in a new city. The film still has a couple of weeks until its theatrical release, but its 96,000 tweets come in significantly behind those of Jurassic World, according to Topsy. Over the last 30 days, however, Inside Out has seen 433,000 tweets, over 100,000 more than Jurassic World's 310,000.

Disney is known for converting its brands into strong consumer product sales, and this may be another chance for that. The release of Frozen led the company to its highest consumer product quarter ever following the film, with revenue totaling $1.38 billion. Studio entertainment revenue for the first quarter of 2015 was down however, totaling $1.685 billion compared to last year's $1.8 billion. Inside Out is predicted to make a total of $280 million domestically according to BoxOffice.com.

Inside Out has a smaller following than the dinosaurs on Facebook, with only 206,000 likes on its page. But like the Jurassic franchise, the film has taken over a larger fan base by replacing the profile photos on the Disney Pixar twitter — an account with more than four million followers.

Paper Towns: The newest tween sensation from author John Green is set to hit theaters in late July. Paper Towns follows a group of friends as they travel across the country looking for their runaway friend. Despite the popularity of the source material, Paper Towns only has 57,000 related tweets over the last seven days, and 103,000 over the last 30, the lowest of the three movies, according to Topsy. Green himself is almost as popular, with 101,000 related tweets in the last 30 days.

21st Century Fox is responsible for Paper Towns as well as Green's previous film The Fault in Our Stars. The company's filmed entertainment division reported $2.4 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2015, up from the $2.3 billion last year. The film is predicted to make $86 million, according to BoxOffice.com. Green's previous film made $307 million globally, making it one of the most profitable films of 2014, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.

The Facebook page for the Paper Towns movie has 882,000 likes. Part of this could be due to a contents happening on the page, where fans can vote for their state, with the most popular of the states being added to the movie's tour. The movie's number of likes pales in comparison to the next movie.

Despite the low social traffic, the movie is still predicted to do well at the box office, according to BoxOffice.com. The film is expected to bring in $300 million in the U.S., which falls just short of Jurassic World's prediction. The previous two films grossed nearly $1.5 billion at the international box office, according to BoxOffice.com, the second of the two responsible for nearly a $1 billion of that.

Minions may not have much klout on Twitter, but the movie has a strong following on Facebook. The page is one of the fastest-growing movie pages on Facebook according to BoxOffice.com. With 29.5 million likes, it is one of the largest of the 2015 summer blockbusters.

The first movie in the franchise brought in $160 million in the international box office. The sequel is predicted to bring in less, only $101 million in the U.S. The Warner Brothers, a filmed entertainment arm of Time Warner Inc., has exclusive distribution rights for the film. The filmed entertainment division of Time Warner made $593 million in the first quarter of 2015, slightly higher than the previous year at $555 million. This division is much smaller compared to the $1.4 billion of Universal, or the $2.4 billion of Fox's filmed entertainment.

The page for Magic Mike XXL follows in the footsteps of the other franchised movies. The film took over the fan page for the original Magic Mike, replacing the photos with new promotional material. The page has 1.8 million total likes.

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