EXCLUSIVE: It was a surprise to me, but Adobe Systems does business with companies that account for as much as 80% of online movie ticket sales. And with that info, plus social media data, today it’s introducing its ability to give studios a weeks-in-advance peek at how upcoming films are likely to perform. “The model, which we built using social data measured by Adobe Marketing Cloud, was able to accurately predict The Conjuring as a surprise winner last summer, a full 20 days in advance of the movie’s release,” says Principal Analyst Tamara Gaffney. “Analysis of social buzz data is a must-have for movie marketers to optimize advertising campaigns and identify potential surprise winners and losers.” Adobe’s putting itself on the line by making a few predictions for the holiday season. Paramount’s Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (just postponed to January) “will be surprise hits.” In addition, and not so surprisingly, buzz for Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Warner Bros’ The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, and Disney’s Thor: The Dark World is “well above average”, suggesting that “you can expect all of these movies to generate revenue above the cost.” Adobe is pessimistic, though, about Lionsgate’s Ender’s Game and Disney’s Delivery Man. Chatter for these films is ”limited and suggests that both movies will be in line with non-profitable movies this year.” Adobe says that it’s becoming easier to make predictions like these because moviegoers disclose so much information about themselves on the Web including blogs and social media sites such as Facebook, Google+, Reddit, YouTube, Twitter, and Tumblr. Twenty days before a movie is released, comments for profitable releases tends to be 600% higher than for non-profitable ones.
On the heels of a domestic trailer released by Paramount earlier this month comes a new international version for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Chris Pine stars in the Kenneth Branagh-directed pic along with Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner, Peter Andersson, David Paymer, Colm Feore and Branagh. It’s set for …
UPDATE: Statement from Paramount chief Brad Grey: “Tom Clancy was one of the great storytellers of our time and his passing has been deeply felt by all of us at Paramount. We are forever indebted to Tom for making this studio his home, and our deepest sympathies go out to his family, and his many fans, at this great loss.”
EARLIER: Reports are coming in that bestselling author Tom Clancy has died at age 66 in a hospital near his Baltimore home. His military post-Cold War espionage thriller novels launched the Jack Ryan film series, and he was one of several authors who, in the 1990s, became franchise fixtures, commanded big bucks, and often fought with the studios that turned his books into films. He co-founded the vidgame developer Red Storm Entertainment, which is now owned by Ubisoft, and he has had his name on numerous mega-selling video games including the Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six series.
Clancy in later years wrote his books with the help of co-authors, but the star of this former insurance agent and military buff was really launched after it was revealed that President Reagan was a fan of his military thrillers. Paramount launched a franchise based on his signature character, CIA analyst Jack Ryan, with the 1990 Alec Baldwin-starrer The Hunt For Red October.
Clancy’s relationship with the studio and its filmmakers often became contentious, after Paramount chief Brandon Tartikoff bounced Baldwin when he wanted to delay while doing A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway. Tartikoff had just had a movie with Harrison Ford fall apart called Night Ride Down, but they were eager to work together, and the change was made. While Ford took the series through two Phil Noyce-directed screen blockbusters — Patriot Games and Clear And Present Danger — Clancy often bristled about how his work was handled, and I think he never warmed to Ford’s portrayal. That was especially true in Patriot Games, where Clancy grew incensed for, among other things, a scene in which an IRA backer delivers info on the culprits who tried to kill his wife. It came in a package with a doll, and Ryan’s child was seen playing with the doll. Clancy hated that. Paramount also owns the series based on a spinoff character, Clark, a mercenary who first appeared in the form of Willem Dafoe in Clear And Present Danger, and who headlined the novel Without Remorse. The studio has tried numerous times over the years to turn that book into a feature and is still trying. Ben Affleck took over the Ryan character in The Sum Of All Fears, and under producers Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Mark Vahradian and Mace Neufeld, the series was revived with the Kenneth Branagh-directed Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, with Chris Pine playing a young Ryan, and Kevin Costner playing his CIA mentor. That film, which was based on Clancy-created characters but an original storyline by Adam Cozad, is in post-production and is set for a December 25 release date, and Paramount has high hopes it will reignite the series. Clancy also has a new novel due out that same month, Command Authority.