Why did The Ides Of March ‘fail’ at the box office?

‘The Ides of March’ brought in a respectable $10+ million dollars on its opening but with all the hype surrounding George Clooney’s well marketed film, it should have faired better.

The Ides Of March

In fact, audiences opted for a more action in Hugh Jackman’s latest movie ‘Real Steel’ which wasn’t really ever a viral topic of discussion ahead of its release. From a web buzz point of view, we think Jackman’s movie had 10 times less attention than Clooney’s movie, but was almost 3 times more successful in its opening weekend. So what happened?

If we look at a web statistics, we can analyse the trailer viewership for both movies to get a general idea of the interest. If you type in ‘Ides Of March Trailer’ on youtube and select the highest viewed videos, the first video you will come across that specifically includes that search term is :

The Ides Of March – Official Trailer (300k views)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McCt-_yYLpo

Now, if you type in ‘Real Steel Trailer’ you get a different result:

Real Steel Official Trailer (2.8 million views)

This indication alone shows a general interest in the content of ‘Real Steel’ was nearly 10x more on youtube than ‘Ides Of March’, which is such an important video platform today that you have to look at these statistics and question them. Are they representative of the entire filmgoing market ? Maybe more emphasis should be placed on youtube viewings. Trailers are after all, a vital marketing tool of a film. If they get poor viewership but have a huge marketing buzz, it may be underperforming.

However, ahead of the release of both movies, Ides of March was getting a huge buzz in the media thanks to its film festival screenings. Thousands of agencies were discussing this movie ahead of time, but there was far less chatter about ‘Real Steel’. So why was ‘Ides Of March’ not a big opener? Demographics come into play, and the hollywood blockbuster tends to have a much wider audience and appeal. Looking at the success of the Transformers franchise it’s obvious what audiences flock to. Because of movies that incorporate the action, robot plot, it’s a no-brainer that fans of those huge movies would flock to see Hugh Jackman in ‘Real Steel’, with the X Men fans on top of that. However, those marching towards Clooney’s original film were not fans of any previous sequel, franchise or other movie. Can political dramas really make money at the box office?

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