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Social Media Buzz: 'If I Stay' Tugs on Young Emotions to Top Box Office

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Social Media Buzz: 'If I Stay' Tugs on Young Emotions to Top Box Office
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LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Does digital data offer indicators that can be used to monitor marketing effectiveness and predict box office success even before awareness turns into intent? We analyzed this weekend's new movies across Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Google (the methodology behind the numbers is laid out in the appendix below) over the seven days leading up to their release, when marketing campaigns should be at their peak.

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"If I Stay" is the latest YA movie to target the teen and tween set, following in the footsteps of "The Fault In Our Stars" and "Divergent." While topping those two social sensations would be a huge challenge, the movie does come with a fervent fan base comprising mainly of young women who are set to propel another teen favorite to number one.

The passion of the fanbase is shown by the engagement across different platforms, with 69% PTAT on Facebook, 0.80% Buzz on YouTube and over 50% retweet rate on Twitter. The respective 4 million and 1 million fan counts of "TFIOS" and "Divergent" on Facebook were exceptionally high, but "If I Stay" has almost twice as many fans as last week's "The Giver" with 375,000 -- and only 12% PTAT.

The campaign is geared to appeal to young women and "If I Stay" used tumblr, where women are particularly active, as the official site for the movie. The campaign has been similar in tone to "TFIOS", and a lot of focus has been put on the fans and their relationship to the material. "If I Stay" has encouraged fans to share photos using the hashtag #BestDay and then compiled videos of them, introduced by lead Chloe Grace Moretz. Along with co-star Jamie Blackley she has also taken part in Twitter Q&As, driving 342,000 release week tweets.

The 0.81% positive Buzz score on YouTube is way above average and especially important as "If I Stay" has a modest 11.8 million views, where "TFIOS" and "Divergent" had 40 and 30 million each, and "The Giver" had 13.6 million last week; however it had only 0.30% Buzz, suggesting a number of those views were bought.

"If I Stay" is most impressive on Instagram, where it has gathered 164,000 followers, more than the 134,000 of "TFIOS" and 156,000 of "Divergent" before release, making it the largest Instagram community for a movie before it has even come out in theaters. This demonstrates the popularity of the title among young women who are particularly active on Instagram and the enthusiasm of the fans to build such a large community on a platform where movies can struggle -- "The Giver" managed less than 1,000 fans before release.

However, this can't be taken as an indication that "If I Stay" will also be making over $50 million this weekend. Search volume at 57,600 is relatively low compared to the 132,000 and 151,000 of "TFIOS" and "Divergent," suggesting they generated more interest among older audiences, while it seems "If I Stay" is primarily interesting younger moviegoers. "If I Stay" looks set to well outstrip "The Giver's" $12.3 million and top $20 million this weekend.

Final Expectations: "If I Stay" will get all the #feels and all the money this weekend, coming in with over $20 million.

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