(Photo: Marvel Studios/Universal Pictures/Walt Disney Pictures)
For movie fans (and movie studios for that matter), there’s no better place to gauge the reaction to something like, say, a high profile Super Bowl commercial than on Twitter.
If you were watching the big game last night, there’ s a good chance that you were tweeting about it in real-time using the popular micro-blogging service – especially during the now-infamous Super Dome blackout when people had little else to entertain them. All told, Twitter estimates that there were nearly 24.1 million tweets about the game over the course of the evening.
But it wasn’t just the game itself that folks were tweeting about. Many of those nearly 25 million posts had to do with the commercials that aired during Super Bowl XLVII – specifically the mini-movie trailer TV spots. Thirty-second ads for upcoming tent-pole releases like “Iron Man 3,” “Star Trek Into Darkness,” “The Lone Ranger,” “Fast & Furious 6,” “World War Z,” and “Oz The Great and Powerful” aired during the game, and each film saw a definite uptick in Twitter chatter after each respective spot aired.
According to Twitter analytics site Topsy, the “Iron Man 3” TV spot was mentioned by more than 50,000 users after it aired, being retweeted by others countless more times. Topsy only counts what it considers “significant and valid” tweets that include links or are shared by other users, so the real number of mentions was likely much higher.
The spot aired just after the Super Bowl power outage, which prompted former Backstreet Boy Nick Carter to tweet about both.
Iron man will save the superdome?
— Nick Carter (@nickcarter) February 4, 2013
Comedian and podcaster Matt Mira offered more specifics, tweeting that Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) should put his robo-suit’s power source to better use.
If Marvel is smart Iron Man will drop from the ceiling and power the dome with a spare Arc reactor. — Matt Mira (@MattMira) February 4, 2013
See also: Watch the 'Iron Man 3' Super Bowl spot
The big game TV spot for “Star Trek Into Darkness” was also a popular topic on the social network, garnering more than 42,000 significant mentions. “Star Trek,” popular on the Internet? Never!
Speaking of popular on the Internet, “Into Darkness” villain and TV “Sherlock” Benedict Cumberbatch received the lion’s share of the Twitter love for the upcoming sci-fi sequel. Tweeter Whitney summed up the sentiments of many.
not going to lie, i will only be watching the superbowl for the star trek trailer. lets be real though: mainly just for benedict cumberbatch
— whitney(@wmariepapa) February 2, 2013
“Star Trek” also came up when the Super Dome’s lights went down. Twitter user Ian Miles Cheong joked that the Super Bowl power outage was actually just publicity stunt to help promote the appropriately titled “Trek” sequel.
This is a pretty good viral marketing stunt for Star Trek: Into Darkness, I must say. — Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) February 4, 2013
Countless others went on to tweet about the NFL’s impressive “Super Dome Into Darkness” trailer.
Another well received Super Bowl TV spot was Disney's "Oz The Great and Powerful." The film enjoyed more than 65,000 significant mentions, and it benefited from an airing early in the game that kept people talking over the course of the night.
Twitter-happy CNBC reporter Julia Boorstin tweeted that the "Oz" TV spot did its job by very briefly drawing her attention from the social network.
— Julia Boorstin (@JBoorstin) February 4, 2013
But by far the biggest Twitter winner of the night (if Topsy's in-depth analytics are to be believed) was the TV spot for "Fast & Furious 6." For better or worse, the action-packed trailer was mentioned nearly 250,000 times by Twitter users, who alternately seemed to make fun of the movie or laud it as the next big thing.
Actress Zelda Williams (daughter of Robin Williams) tweeted what we were all thinking when the "Fast" TV spot aired.
So Fast and Furious 6 is just a hip hop Mission Impossible now, right?
— Zelda Williams (@zeldawilliams) February 4, 2013
User Sam Woods then made the best/only Ludacris related joke of the night.
Another Fast and Furious?!? That’s Ludacris. — Sam Woods (@SamWoodsIV) February 4, 2013
(Rapper/actor Ludacris features in three of the six "Fast & Furious" films, including the upcoming movie.)
Bayside bassist Nick Ghanbarian subsequently pointed out an extremely sad fact.
— NickBayside (@nickbayside) February 4, 2013
All joking aside, there was a great deal of enthusiasm for "Fast Six." The movie wasn't on the radar of many people before last night's game, but now it most certainly is.
But will the number of tweets about a Super Bowl TV spot actually convert into butts in seats when a movie is released? It's hard to say. Movies that were comparatively less talked about on the social network last night -- like "The Lone Ranger" -- likely won't lay their box office success or failure at the foot of a lack of Super Bowl commercial hype. General internet buzz doesn't always translate into box office numbers (just ask last year's sci-fi flops "John Carter" and "Dredd 3D"), and spending big on a Super Bowl ad is no guarantee of success (again, ask Disney's "John Carter").
Still, movie marketing machines will take what they can get. It doesn't matter if the tweets were positive or negative; any press -- or, in this case, any tweet -- is good press.