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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Is Thor Headed for a Cliff?

I am a little shocked at how much of a negative reaction consumers are having to the recent Thor movie, released this past weekend.   Thor did pretty well at the box office, raking in around $70MM in the US and becoming the 11th highest grossing superhero movie opening weekend. Overall it was somewhat of a disappointment following Fast Five's record breaking weekend opening of almost $90MM and the high expectations that were in the market, with some experts suggesting Thor could break $100MM in the opening weekend.   Though I believe the Thor numbers came in about where they should have for a big blockbuster over Mothers Day weekend, I am worried about the following weeks and what type of drop-off they will see.

I think there were very high expectations put on this film by the fan base, and there is no question the movie was hyped, even with a Super Bowl commercial months ago to set the marketing ball into motion.   Myself, I saw the film and thought it was great, interesting, and kept me involved throughout the entire story.   Though I must admit I liked the scenes where Thor was 'at home' in the clouds much more than when he was on Earth, I did find the entire movie interesting and entertaining from start to finish.

I walked out of the movie feeling similar to when I saw Clash of the Titans last year.   I loved both movies and remember being pleasantly surprised at how much I actually enjoyed the entire film.   One of the reasons I think I liked both of these movies so much was I had almost zero expectations for either of these movies going in.  I wasn't really looking forward to seeing either of them and I was actually expecting them both to be void of an interesting story and partially expected to see a bunch of old guys dressed in gowns running around killing people.  This is where I was surprised and even impressed.  There was an actual storyline that made sense, the character development was almost seamless, and the plot of the movie was easy to follow, while being really entertaining.

All that being said, the problem is that I am not your normal Thor moviegoer, and I think that is where there is The Rub.   The problem is the majority of the superhero moviegoers had really high expectations for the film and they were disappointed.   Just looking at Twitter you can see the majority of tweets about the film are tending towards a somewhat negative to very negative sentiment.   There is plenty of data out in the market to suggest Thor is going to have some trouble in upcoming weekends, but the biggest and most telling is from the good folks at   Amplicate is a great site that allows consumers to 'vote' on what they like and what they don't like.  Amplicate monitors brands and products across the social web to identify what people like and what they don't like.  It is like a sentiment engine for the world, and it is really cool.   The site allows you to rank categories or look at trends over time.  The folks at Amplicate were nice enough to Tweet me with the recent stats on Thor and the numbers reinforce my belief that people are overall pretty disappointed in the film.

First, and foremost, if you look at how Thor (the superhero) ranks versus all other major superheroes, you can see Thor is not loved.   Actually, today Thor is the lowest of the top 15 (in votes) by a measure of 30-50% versus all others.   Even the Green Lantern, which has been getting slammed in the press, is over 5-percentage points higher than Thor.  This is a disaster for the Thor brand.

Though this data on its own only suggests that Thor is not loved, or seen in the same light, as other superheroes of our time.   But the next stat from Amplicate should scare the hell out of the good ol' guys at Paramount.  The trend data from Amplicate suggests the movie has had a dramatic impact on the positive feelings consumers have around the Thor figure.   You can see from this trend chart that the positive opinions of Thor were hovering between 85%-90% all last year and into early this year.   The likability score started to slip a little at the beginning of 2011, averaging around 80%.  Until this weekend when the movie officially opened across the US, where the likability for Thor dropped to a dismal 54%.

What does this mean for the movie franchise?  I don't know for sure, but I don't think it is a good thing.   I realize the data here is probably more tuned into the social web, which tends to be younger and more mobile, but those are the dollars the studios are going after, and especially for a movie such as Thor.

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