Keeping It Classic for the Holidays

Not Your Standard Movie Release

For many of us, A Charlie Brown Christmas is Christmas—it’s not Christmas without it—the embodiment of the holiday season, an icon of our childhoods, a hallmark of tradition, a marker that reminds us to be grateful in the true spirit of the holiday season. This season, Blue Sky Studios in partnership with 20th c. Fox, produced and released The Peanuts Movie, (the fifth full-length Peanuts film). The film, commemorating the 65th anniversary of the comic, breaks the 35 year hiatus since the last Peanuts film was in theaters. Written by Charles Schulz’s son and grandson, it seems it’s time for the kids to take over the tradition.
So how did audiences react to the film’s release? We turned to social data to get to the heart of it.
Tumblr Millennials — The Core of Engagement
Since the premiere of The Peanuts Movie there have been over 200k posts on Twitter and Tumblr combined concerning the film. Breaking the conversation down, going to the pulsepoint of millennial engagement and reaction, we saw there were 155,186 posts on Tumblr. Tracking this conversation in real-time, we can see that in while there is streaming and pirating discussion that appears on the scene before the premiere of the film, this does not seem to detract from the general excitement and buzz from viewers following the premiere and subsequent release of the film. This is crucial in illustrating the lasting success of the film with this millennial audience who is eager to get their hands on the film (in any way they can). Post release of the film, we can see the conversation evolve into more diverse categories of conversation.
Tracking these topics around the time of the release reveals that despite streaming conversation continuing to occupy a fair portion of conversation, there are a number of other dominant sub-topics of discussion ranging from discussion of the animation of the film, plot discussion (along with spoilers), interest in the comic creator Charles M. Schulz, as well as interest in director Steve Martino, writers Craig and Bryan Schulz, and the production studios. This suggests an audience that is very passionate about the film and all the aspects that went into its creation and production.
We can continue this analysis, seeing that even as time continues leading away from the release of the film, topics of conversation continue to evolve. Below we can see the appearance of more topics associated with Charles M. Schulz, more character centered discussion, and general appreciation for the the imagination as well as comic strip of Schulz. This also reveals that a dominant driver of the creativity discussion is the animation in the film.
Topic Waves from 2015-11-06 to 2015-11-16
To dive even deeper into this conversation, we surfaced some of top posts, seeing the true variety of responses that are occurring in the community.
Above, we can see interest in giveaways and promotions tied into the film release, supplemental creative tied into the film (a book detailing the art of making the film), reviews and suggestions for Oscar nomination, as well as creative fans making their own media in honor of the film. This detail in responses reveals that this could be a great opportunity for creatives/filmmakers/brand representatives to look for partnerships and collaborations.
Twitter — Understanding a Supplemental Audience
Looking comparatively to engagement on Twitter, we were curious to see if there was anything unique about engagement on this platform. In addition to reviews occupying a large portion of conversation, we can see interest in the characters, as well as reaction to the trailer. Crucially, we also noticed a discussion of kids appearing in topical analysis.
Pursuing this, we looked to the audience engaging on Twitter, seeing what we could learn. Analysis of contextualizing interests, topics that viewers are interested in and post about beyond the isolated film discussion, uncover that this audience has a surprisingly different makeup than the millennial Tumblr demographic.
Above, we can see that those participating in discussion while interested in topics relevant to the film such as celebrities, blogging, filmmakers, and comics, are also crucially interested in parenting, being a mom, and topics relevant to parenting. Given the prevalence of reviews, this reveals that parents are also crucially interested in the film. So despite the deep investment in targeting of youth with the highly digital 3D film, it appears that parents are also eager to watch and share their opinions of the next film in the Peanuts franchise.
This prevalent engagement—across platforms—illustrates the ability to target the young with a new film, but the success of the film in staying true to its brand, allowing parents (an indirect audience) to bond not with jokes hidden in the subtext, but with the nostalgia and history of Charles Schulz and the Peanuts franchise. This is a promising picture for those in the industry and a happy note with which to look forward to the holiday season.
For a deep-dive analysis on a film release read our case study on Foxcatcher.

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