It’s hard to imagine in 2017, but there was a time when movies based on comic book heroes were considered a high-risk Hollywood gamble. The big budget flop of Batman & Robin in 1997 cooled industry enthusiasm for the genre, and studio executives looked elsewhere for big budget action movie ideas.
These days, the attitude of studios for superhero movies is quite different. Movies featuring Batman, The Avengers, and Wonder Woman among others dominate the box office leaderboards throughout the year. What’s been missing, though, is the centerpiece character in the Marvel Comics Universe: Spider-Man. Sony acquired movie rights to Spidey, Peter Parker and associated other characters and villains back in the late 1990s, when Marvel Comics was in bankruptcy proceedings. That created a potentially awkward situation with the Disney-owned Marvel Comics Universe (MCU), one that was settled two years ago in a landmark deal to share the Spider-Man intellectual property between the two entertainment conglomerates.
This week’s Movie Swarm AI watched the trailer for the first feature-length Spidey movie to be fully set within the MCU, Spider-Man: Homecoming. Last year’s Captain America: Civil War was a massive success, not the least for introducing youthful actor Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man to audiences. The big question for the UNU Swarm to consider is whether this third Spider-Man iteration in will have the star power and quality to stand on its own.
The first thing the swarm does each week is to watch movie trailers and consider how effective they are (or aren’t) as a marketing tool to draw potential audiences. Whenever possible, Unanimous A. I.’s research team tries to show the swarm the most recent trailer available. These are considered to be the “action” advertisements, meant to have the strongest possible pull for potential audiences. For Spider-Man: Homecoming, that meant watching this video.
The most surprising takeaway reaction from the swarm to this trailer can be seen in the replay above. Although superhero movies are supposed to be all about slam-bang, non-stop action, the swarm thought the wry humor displayed in the video would be an even bigger audience draw. If that result is making your Spidey senses tingle, perhaps it’s because we’ve had a similar surprising result on this question before. Back in May the swarm expressed the same sentiment about the Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer when they watched it. If Homecoming can even get into the same revenue ballpark as Guardians, Sony and Disney execs will be high-fiving on Monday.
The swarm wasn’t completely positive about the Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer, however. The preview clip only brought on a reduced sense of emotional attachment, as you can see above. The UNU Swarm also thought the trailer’s reveal of the movie showed only a medium-quality production. By comparison, the swarm thought the trailers for both Wonder Woman and Guardians of the Galaxy (the summer’s other two big comic based-movies) gave a sense of a high-quality films.
The replay above should provide a sense of relief for Spider-Man’s connections. Although Tom Holland isn’t quite as unknown as Wonder Woman lead actress Gal Gadot, he’s still hardly a household name. The swarm’s reaction here is even stronger than the sentiment for Gadot and the Wonder Woman’s cast appeal. That positive reaction from the swarm is likely also due in part to the star power of Robert Downey, Jr, whose cameo as Tony Stark is featured prominently in the trailer.
After providing their feelings regarding the trailer, the swarm was provided with Spider-Man: Homecoming’s current review aggregate scores, as well as an industry estimated baseline for opening weekend domestic revenues. Based on that, as you can see the UNU Swarm believes that Spidey will surpass expectations this weekend. Although the studio is low-balling expectations by saying they’ll be happy with $80 million by Monday, the swarm predicts the movie to end up much closer to the $100-120 million weekend estimates expressed by informed observers.
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