September 19, 2011 2:31pm PT by Scott Feinberg
New Study Shows Brad Pitt's 'Moneyball' Generating Major Buzz Online (Exclusive)
I have learned that BoxOffice.com, a popular and widely trusted website that specializes in predictions and analysis of movie box office figures, will release a special report to its subscribers later today about Moneyball, the baseball drama starring Brad Pitt that will open in theaters this Friday. According to the release, Moneyball is generating even more buzz on social-networking sites than The Social Network, another Scott Rudin-produced film that hit theaters almost exactly a year ago (Moneyball will open one week earlier) and wound up grossing nearly $225 million and scoring eight Oscar nominations, three of which resulted in wins.
BoxOffice.com editor Phil Contrino tells me that the site has been tracking Facebook and Twitter activity since May 2010, and based its conclusions -- which he says are statistically significant -- on stats gathered from monitoring the two sites over the weekend before the films opened. On Facebook, The Social Network received 34,645 "likes" within that period, whereas Moneyball received 64,073. On Twitter, meanwhile, the former was the subject of 4,120 Tweets, whereas the latter was mentioned in 5,264.
What does it all mean? "It shows that Moneyball has genuine breakout potential," says Contrino, who predicts that the audience for that film will skew older than it was for The Social Network. "Adults are clearly hungry for serious-minded flicks with Oscar buzz after a summer full of movies aimed at teens. Just look at how well Midnight in Paris and The Help did at the box office.”
He adds, “The idea of putting Pitt in a sports movie could turn out to be a brilliant one. Women who normally wouldn’t go for a brainy baseball flick won’t get dragged to this one kicking and screaming."