‘Ant-Man And The Wasp’ Marketing Yields Big Box Office For Tiny Heroes

Ant-Man and the Wasp opened at the top of the box office with $75.8 million domestically, making it the tenth time this year a film based on a Marvel character has taken the number one spot. It is also Marvel’s twentieth top box office opening in a row.

Marvel tapped into a number of current trends to push its latest venture that spanned TV, sports, social media and of course, other films from Disney and the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Ant-Man had a clever marketing campaign, great reviews and also benefited from Avengers: Infinity War, which grossed $674.8 million domestic,” Karie Bible, box office analyst and film historian at Exhibitor Relations, told AList.

Ahead of the film’s release, Marvel invited fans to create short films inspired by Ant-Man and the Wasp. Creators responded with films that used the idea of size and forced perspective with imaginative results.

For the July 4 holiday, size became the perfect segue into a tiny cooking video.

“The trailer played theatrically before Deadpool 2 and a more family-focused trailer ran before The Incredibles 2,” noted Bible. “The movie had promotional partnerships with Hyundai, Dell, Synchrony and Sprint. It was also advertised on ESPN, the World Cup, WWE, The Bachelorette and more.”

Including The Wasp as a prominent character might have helped attract a more diverse audience that consisted of 45 percent female movie-goers, according to CinemaScore. In addition, Bible said, 58 percent of ticket holders were over the age of 25.

“The film was aimed at multiple demographics,” Bible observed. “Marketing and publicity play a major role in a film’s success, but those efforts can only do so much. Audiences will either respond or they won’t. In this case, the film delivered the goods.”

Ant-Man and the Wasp is the 20th film in the MCU and it may be the smallest but it still managed to outperform its predecessor. Ant-Man opened in 2015 at $57.2 million domestic.

FXX Announces ‘It’s Always Sunny’ Mobile Game Ahead Of New Season

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is getting a mobile tie-in game, FXX announced on Tuesday. The game, It’s Always Sunny: The Gang Goes Mobile will follow the misadventures of Mac, Dennis, Charlie, Dee and Frank just in time for the show’s season 13 premiere.

The new game will feature “The Gang,” as they help Frank hide dirty money through a number of schemes. Specific gameplay features were not available at press time but according to the press release, players will be able to “tap and unlock their way to more schemes and collect fan-favorite characters,” implying an “idle” style game similar to Office Space: Idle Profits. At this time, there is no word as to whether the game will tie into season 13 events.

A source familiar with the matter told AList that The Gang Goes Mobile is being developed by Eastside Games, the studio behind idle game Trailer Park Boys: Greasy Money—another clue as to the gameplay style.

This isn’t the first time FXX has invited fans into the Gang’s dysfunctional world. Last February, the company released a VR experience called “Project Badass” in which the user becomes the subject of Mac and Charlie’s latest stunt video. As always, it goes badly.

The Gang Goes Mobile is being released later this year for Android and iOS by FoxNext, the newly-created in-house game development division of 20th Century Fox and Fox Television. The focus of the studio, Amir Rahimi, vice president and general manager told AList, is to “build games that we can legitimately have over 100 million people play.”

Games developed by FoxNext have thus far been limited to its own intellectual properties such as The Simpsons: Tapped Out and Family Guy: Quest for Stuff.

“We look at the [Fox] IPs and choose them based on what we love the most and think will most naturally translate into a compelling mobile game experience,” Rahimi said in a 2017 interview with AList.

VR and mobile games have become a more popular way of marketing TV shows. In March, HBO released a VR experience called Inside the Hacker Hostel alongside Season 5 of Silicon Valley. Over the last several years, AMC and its partners have developed several mobile tie-ins to The Walking Dead, including an AR game called The Walking Dead Encounter.

World Cup’s Female Fan Base Growing Fast, Nielsen Study Advises Marketers

A recent study from Nielsen shows that advertisers shouldn’t discount female audiences. Traditionally, soccer fandom has been male-dominated and male-centric, partly due to a history of excluding women women from attending a game or playing the sport. Saudi Arabia, for example, allowed women to attend soccer games for the first time this year.

However, the Nielsen study, which surveyed fans across 18 markets in 2017, found that 31 percent of women surveyed were interested in watching the most popular sport in the world. They also represent a younger audience, with women mostly around ranging from 18-24 in age, stating that they intended to watch the World Cup on TV, while most men who said the same were 35-44.

According to Nielsen’s findings, this year’s World Cup advertising campaigns have a 56 percent chance of reaching an 18-34-year-old female demographic. This is a significant increase from the previous World Cup in 2014, which reached about 38 percent of women.

Although the Men’s World Cup holds the greatest appeal for fans, with 70 percent of women stating that they found it “very appealing,” it isn’t the only event that has a growing audience. Nielsen found that 58 percent of females expressed great interest in the Women’s World Cup.

“Now is the time for advertisers to capitalize on fans’ attention and make sure they’re reaching female audiences effectively,” wrote Nielsen’s UK watch commercial director Barney Farmer.

Nielsen also warns advertisers to not disregard television as a key platform as they execute their digital and mobile plans, as only nine percent of the UK planned to watch this year’s World Cup on a mobile device or tablet.

Despite all this, according to Nielsen, ratings are down 42 percent in the US for the 2018 World Cup—primarily due to the US men’s national team not qualifying.

Pepsi’s Film Risk Pays Off; ‘Uncle Drew’ Holds Its Own At The Box Office

Uncle Drew debuted at number four in the domestic box office, bringing in an estimated $15.5 million. This niche basketball comedy fared surprisingly well for a new franchise, earning nearly twice that of Warner Bros.’ star-studded Oceans 8 for the week.

There are a lot of firsts about Uncle Drew that made it a financial risk for studios to produce. For one, the character, portrayed by NBA Kyrie Irving was born out of an ad campaign for Pepsi Max in 2012. While many of Pepsi’s spots have gone viral, there is never a guarantee that enthusiasm will translate into movie tickets.

Secondly, most of the main characters in Uncle Drew are basketball stars—not movie stars—with the exception of Shaquille O’Neal who at the very least, has some on-set experience. Lastly, the upbeat comedy is a first for PepsiCo’s Creators League Studios.

“There’s no precedent,” Karie Bible, box office analyst and film historian at Exhibitor Relations, told AListDaily. “We can’t compare it to Pepsi’s last movie or the last Uncle Drew movie or the last film from Kyrie Irving.”

Marketing for the film was targeted to its core audience—basketball fans—and while campaigns were limited to NBA playoff games, trailers and a Snapchat filter, Bible felt it was more than appropriate for a film of this size.

“They really marketed it well,” she commented. “A lot of time marketing is blamed for whenever a movie doesn’t succeed. They did a good job marketing it digitally to sports fans. It obviously wasn’t a huge blockbuster but Uncle Drew‘s box office is decent for sure.”

Lionsgate and Pepsi have two other things on their side—the Fourth of July holiday and an “A” rating on Cinema Score.

“It should carry on and make money over the Fourth of July weekend,” said Bible. “Good for [Lionsgate] for taking a risk. You’ve gotta pin a medal on a studio for that these days. It doesn’t happen too often.”

Drake’s ‘Scorpion’ Album Massive Success Despite Complaints About Its Promotion

Drake has long been crowned as the king of streaming music, with his newly released album Scorpion continuing his legacy of breaking global streaming records on major music services. The 25-track album had 170 million streams within 24 hours of launching on Apple Music, while Spotify proclaimed that the album being listened to 10 million times per hour at one point with 132 million streams occurring globally. Billboard reported that Scorpion totaled 435 million streams during its launch weekend, unseating Post Malone as the one-week streaming record holder with 431 million in three days.

But Drake didn’t rise to the top of the streaming charts based on his musical talents alone. The album launch was accompanied by a massive promotional blitz that was clearly successful but left some listeners crying “enough.”

The Canadian artist signed an exclusive deal with Apple Music in 2015, which gave Drake regular endorsements and promotions. In promoting the new album, Apple updated Siri with a long list of Drake’s nicknames, which are provided randomly to encourage users to ask the voice assistant about it multiple times. Additionally, Apple Music also released the “Make Your Drake” web app, which let users make their own personalized album art based on Scorpion’s cover.

On Friday, Spotify proclaimed on Twitter that Drake was the answer for every occasion, which was the lead-in for “ScorpionSZN,” the music streaming service’s first-ever global dedicated artist takeover. With this intensive promotional campaign, Spotify partnered with labels Republic, Cash Money and Young Money to feature the artist’s picture on its homepage and across dozens of playlists on the same day—even ones that don’t have any of Drake’s songs on them. Additionally, playlist headers had slogans such as “Have a happy FriDrake” and “Thank God it’s FriDrake.”

The heavy promotion almost undoubtedly helped push Scorpion rise to the top, and the RIAA has officially named Drake as its highest certified digital singles artist with 142 million singles to date. However, this kind of heavy push didn’t come with some consequences. Users who didn’t appreciate the takeover voiced their frustration and mocked the campaign on social media—drawing comparisons to when Apple angered users by placing a copy of U2’s Songs of Innocence in everyone’s library without permission.

Some premium Spotify users who paid for an ad-free experience saw the takeover as advertising and demanded refunds. Potential damage to Spotify’s reputation as a service that personalizes music according to individual tastes remains to be seen, as the campaign can be seen as pushing music that its users might not like, but the success of the promotion seems to outweigh any apparent outrage. Spotify’s Twitter account currently has several Drake-related posts with none issuing an apology.

Study Reveals How World Cup Ads Impact Behavior

Digital experience management company Instart announced the results of its 2018 World Cup Ad Performance Study on Wednesday, which surveys over 1,000 adults living in the US and UK, comparing how fans from each country feel about the World Cup, how they’re watching it and how advertising impacted them. As it turns out, 60 percent of Americans watching the games, are doing so live, compared to 81 percent of Britons watching the games. Even though there were significantly more Brits watching live matches than Americans—with many on both sides of the pond streaming matches while at work and even in the bedroom—all audiences were impacted by advertising.

According to the study, 65 percent of surveyed Americans said that they were likely to be impacted commercials while only 52 percent of British fans said the same. World Cup ads drove about 28 percent of Americans to brand websites while others got a case of the munchies, with 23 percent reporting that the ads led them to buy fast food and 16 percent got thirsty for beer, but no specific brands are indicated. Additionally, 37 percent of Americans report watching at least 60 seconds of an ad when they appear on TV or online compared to 32 percent of Brits.

Also, perhaps unsurprisingly, when it comes driving consumer purchase behavior, David Beckham scores the highest. Instart found that 29 percent of surveyed soccer fans said that renowned soccer start would likely convince them to buy a product. By comparison, soccer celebrity Cristiano Ronaldo got 19 percent of the vote and Lionel Messi received 14 percent.

As for what ad characteristics attract the most attention during the World Cup, repetition wins at 60 percent, followed by creativity (25 percent) and sex appeal (23 percent). However, the study also warns that approximately 18 percent of Americans will tune out online ads after one online ad, while 25 percent stop paying attention after two. UK viewers reported less tolerance for online ads, with 31 percent stating that they tuned out after one and 21 percent saying two was their limit.

Although the 2026 World Cup will be hosted in the United States, many Americans aren’t holding out much hope that their team even qualify, much less win, within the next decade. However, US consumers do have their top picks for the 2026 World Cup sponsors, which are Amazon, Apple and Microsoft.

“.. we wanted to know what fans on both sides of the Atlantic were expecting from the World Cup,” said Instart CMO Daniel Druker in a statement. “World Cup fans made it clear that they appreciate and will engage with high-quality, targeted digital ads—and if you really want to get their attention, you’ll score big with David Beckham.”

History Channel Partners With Ad-Supported OTT Xumo To Expand Reach

Originally published at VideoInk.

Linear viewing on traditional cable and satellite outlets is—surprise—on the decline. With an increasing amount of consumers cutting the cord for OTT options, networks have started to partner with “skinny bundle” providers in an attempt to stay relevant. Most networks have teamed up with companies like YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV and Sling, where their content is offered via a smaller, more affordable package.

Following this trend, the History Channel has made its content available on most pay OTTs including Philo, DirecTV Now and Fubo. But now the network is taking it a step further by offering its content on the free OTT service Xumo, which is home to over 100 channels.

Through a partnership with Xumo, History is bringing select award-winning short-form content to the platform that includes Minute MarvelsHistory Flashback and Bet You Didn’t Know. The new channel will also feature highlights and short-form scene lifts from some of the networks most popular series such as The Curse of Oak Island, Forged in Fire, Alone, Pawn Stars and American Pickers.

The choice to launch the channel with only short-form content is likely an attempt to appeal to younger generations that are used to consuming short two to five-minute video clips on social media (though, in recent months, many social platforms like Facebook and Instagram have pushed further into long-form content).

Xumo’s new History channel, which can be found on channel 350, provides a new means of discovery for the 23-year-old network, which, like most, is trying to stay relevant in a digital world. The lean-back experience provided by the OTT sets up a perfect opportunity for History to be found by consumers that are channel surfing through Xumo’s collection of content, which hopefully leads them to download the History Go app, subscribe to any of the networks social pages, or pay for a “Skinny Bundle” that carries the content. The new distribution outlet also presents a way for History to breathe life back into old content by placing it in front of consumers who may be unfamiliar with the network’s programming.

“We are excited to launch on Xumo as we continue our push to serve History fans on all their favorite platforms,” said Mark Garner, SVP, Distribution and Digital Content Licensing, A+E Networks (History’s parent organization). “We are confident that History’s unique brand of factual entertainment will be a hit with the growing Xumo audience.”

Roku Launches Targeted Ad-Sales Marketplace With Fox, Turner And Viacom On Board

Roku launched the Audience Marketplace on Wednesday, introducing a new way for advertising buyers and sellers to effectively target US audiences on the OTT platform. Media giants including Fox, Turner and Viacom are expected to participate and advertisers can take advantage of the marketplace using programmatic or traditional direct selling methods.

The Audience Marketplace leverages Roku’s first-party data and technology such as the Roku Ad Insights Measurement suite, created in partnership with Nielsen, so that publishers can sell targeted audiences to advertisers. Roku also said that marketers will benefit from the ability to more precisely message viewers across the TV streaming platform. By extending its advanced targeting capabilities to major publishers, Roku is looking to enhance the advertising flow through its platform while helping “publishers make their offering more compelling in an increasingly programmatic, data-driven TV advertising market.”

In a statement, Turner’s VP of ad innovation and programmatic solutions Larry Allen said: “Over-the-top distribution has been a key audience driver for Turner’s portfolio of premium content, with Roku being one of the preeminent partner platforms. Participating in Roku’s Audience Marketplace gives us access to rich insights and enhanced audience targeting capabilities, extending the ability for ad buyers to reach and engage with streaming viewing audiences that are critical to grow their business.”

The Roku platform boasts extensive insights on millions of OTT streamers, with the ability to precisely target specific segments at a household level. In April 2017, Nielsen found that Roku delivers 10.2 percent incremental reach over linear TV among adults aged 18-34.

‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ Rules Box Office With Behemoth Marketing Push

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom debuted at number one at the domestic box office, riding high on nostalgia, mass appeal and Universal’s most expensive marketing campaign to date.

Universal’s hit dinosaur franchise earned $150 million domestically over the weekend pushing Incredibles 2 down to second place. Ahead of its debut, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom relied heavily on its star, Chris Pratt to promote the film on social media with pre-recorded interviews. He may be riding high on a string of successful movies, but Pratt’s charming personality isn’t the biggest star on screen.

“People love dinosaurs,” Karie Bible, box office analyst and film historian at Exhibitor Relations, told AListDaily. “Let’s face it, [the Jurassic Park franchise is] pretty much the same story every time with ‘life finds a way,’ but people [of all ages] love to watch it. It’s what they call a four-quadrant where [a film reaches] every demo—something that studios definitely look for. That’s not easy to find.”

Universal reportedly spent a whopping $185 million to market Fallen Kingdom, making it one of the studio’s biggest-ever marketing and publicity campaigns to date. The most powerful part of the campaign, Bible noted, is the ubiquity of it all—wherever audiences have gone over the past few months, chances are good that Jurassic World marketing was there.

“There’s no way that you can possibly miss it, even if you don’t watch TV. It’s absolutely everywhere,” said Bible. “Basically if you open your medicine cabinet, there’s going to be a dinosaur that pops out at you.”

Universal staged several takeovers, including Kings Cross Station that included a giant T-Rex and Raptor installation, gyrosphere, VR and more. Hundreds of “Blue” the raptor statues were installed across the world in movie theaters and shopping malls.

In the film, dinosaurs are being transported off the island, so Amazon helped out with a marketing campaign called #AmazonFindsAway. The brand delivered a T-Rex to Hollywood, California where it was unboxed live on social media.

TV spots aired during key sporting events like the Super Bowl and World Cup, the first of which marked a first-time partnership with Jeep for the Jurassic franchise. Doritos delivered giant chips to members of the press and supermarkets have been filled with specially-marked packages of everything from candy to waffles.

But, sometimes the most powerful marketing tool is nostalgia. Jurassic Park celebrated its 25th anniversary this year that included theme park events, social media blasts and fan contests.

The timing of a release doesn’t hurt, either. A blockbuster usually begins to drop off in its second week, but Bible expects Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom to hold its box office course over fourth of July weekend.

Digital Game Sales Top $9.1B In May; ‘Pokémon GO’ Surges For Summer

Global video game sales rose 25 percent year-over-year in May to an estimated $9.1 billion, according to the latest figures by SuperData Research.

The worldwide digital game market saw continued growth on mobile, driven in part by “battle royale mania” sweeping the globe. For example, NetEase’s battle royale title Knives Out didn’t make the charts in April but held the number five spot in May.

Pokémon GO Gears Up For Summer

Pokémon GO enjoyed one of its best months ever in May. Niantic’s hit AR game generated $104 million last month, an increase of 174 percent year-over-year. The player base increased to the highest level since the game’s peak in 2016, SuperData noted, just in time for the usual summer bump that comes when warm weather meets Pokemon hunting outdoors.

As a result of its large engagement in May, Pokémon GO rose three spots on the mobile charts to number four.

Sony Proves That Single-Player’s Still Got It

Detroit: Become Human launched at number six on the console charts in May in terms of digital sales, selling 291,000 digital units at launch. For a brand-new, console-exclusive IP, this is a solid reception, SuperData notes.

While multiplayer and battle royale sweep global platforms and drive revenue, Sony proves once again that single-player isn’t dead. In April, God of War sold an estimated 2.1 million digital units at launch, becoming the largest console exclusive digital launch to date. Kratos’ father and son tale slipped three spots to number five in May.

Fortnite Players Pump The Brakes

Epic Game’s Fortnite hit a new high in May, bringing in a whopping $318 million across all platforms in May—and increase of seven percent from April. The game may have held its number one spot for console (earning an estimated $200 million) but SuperData senses a slow down. Mobile and PC revenue came in flat compared to April, the analyst firm noted.

The Force Is Weak With Star Wars Microtransactions

In April, EA reintroduced paid add-ons to Star Wars: Battlefront II after months of backlash over its original model at launch, which was perceived as “pay-to-win.” Cosmetic purchases can be purchased with Crystals, earned through gameplay or purchased with real money. This time, however, DICE assured fans that in-game currency can only be redeemed for cosmetic items. Credits are earned through in-game activity and can be redeemed toward appearances, as well.

Star Wars: Battlefront II additional content in May fell short of the levels seen across other top games this year.