The pop-culture impact of the 'Star Wars' trailer, by the numbers
It’s been exactly one week since the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens dropped on planet Earth—and the overall impact has been greater than that of any previous movie preview known to man.
We’re not just talking clicks, although they’ve been record-setting. Those 88 seconds have already become a pop culture phenomena, inspiring countless spoofs, plot theories, breakdowns (both analytical and emotional). and even a few tattoos.
It’s telling that—at least in the realm of entertainment—Star Wars easily dominated all conversation during a week that included major revelations about the new 007 film, Spectre, a trailer reveal for the new Terminator
Genesee Gynecis Genisys, and word that Jared Leto, Will Smith, and Margot Robbie will headline a DC villains Suicide Squad movie.
The Star Wars news left all of them, much like the planet Alderaan, in the dust.
As we try to quantify the appeal of that trailer, let’s start with the obvious.
• Words: 15. “There has been an awakening. Have you felt it? The dark side … and the light.”
• New characters revealed: 4 (Or maybe 5, if you count the rolling droid. 6 if you count the voice-over by whomever—or whatever—Andy Serkis plays, assuming he’s not the cloaked figure.)
• Old characters seen again: 0
• Full length of the video: 88 seconds
• Amount of actual footage: 39 seconds.
• Ratings info, cuts to black, and titles: 49 seconds.
What about total views? Although exact figures are hard to pin down—since it was downloaded, reposted, and shared in ways that are difficult to calculate—one thing is undeniable: The Force Awakens now holds the record for the most views of any movie trailer in one week.
The YouTube record was just broken by Jurassic World (55,193,779 views), which topped Avengers: Age of Ultron (50,668,165)—which also had to contend with a leaked bootleg. (All numbers are as of 7 a.m. PT today.)
But Star Wars dwarfed them both for the one-week crown, according to online traffic-tracking firm ZEFR. “We have access to more data than any other YouTube partner, and with almost 72 millions views, this Star Wars: Episode VII trailer is the fastest-growing trailer that we’ve ever seen,” Rich Raddon, co-founder ZEFR, told EW today.
UPDATE: Friday evening, the official @StarWars twitter account tweeted that the trailer had crossed 100 million global views, which presumably factors in downloads of the iTunes version, which aren’t public.
“It will likely become the most watched movie trailer ever,” Raddon added. “And what’s even more interesting is how the fans are running with it—it’s multiplying the impact. Already we have seen more than 90 million views of fan-uploaded content around the new Star Wars movie, including reviews, parodies and reaction videos. We see the official views and the entire culture of Star Wars coming to life on YouTube in a very big way.”
It’s trickier to quantify the social media totals, but here are a few figures:
• Facebook shares from the official Star Wars page: 141,646
• Facebook likes from the official Star Wars page: 168,617
• Twitter stats when @StarWars posted the iTunes trailer: 9,203 retweets, 5,296 favorites
• Twitter stats when @StarWars posted the YouTube trailer three hours after the iTunes debut: 20,198 retweets, 16,430 favorites.
• Number of times @StarWars previously tweeted to individual fans about its YouTube trailer (with few taking notice) during those three hours: 4
• Stats on those previous tweets:
#1: 73 retweets, 77 favorites
#2: 111 retweets, 111 favorites
#3: 37 retweets, 40 favorites
#4: 96 retweets, 119 favorites
• Total number of views of that official Star Wars YouTube trailer: 11,639,261
• Upvotes: 96,414
• Downvotes: 3,213
• Comments: 26,118
• Views from the Movieclips YouTube post of the trailer: 42,994,270
• Difference between Movieclips viewers and those from the official Star Wars channel: 31,355,009
• Movieclips upvotes: 247,742
• Movieclips downvotes: 15,201
• Amount of time Stephen Colbert spent explaining the logic and pseudo-science behind the crossguard lightsaber: 5 minutes, 27 seconds
It’s hard to calculate just how many satires, spoofs, send-ups, and alternate edits popped up online over the past week, because new ones keep appearing—and some are lesser seen than others. But a part of The Force Awakens trailer’s colossal impact can be measured in these aftershocks.
Has a trailer ever become so iconic so fast that references to it are already recognizable to… everyone?
• Number of original LEGO recreations: At least 32 (more appear every few hours.)
• Most viewed LEGO recreation: 3,388,290 views.
• Least viewed LEGO recreation: 19 views.
“George Lucas Special Edition” — 8,619,031 views
“Wes Anderson version” — 408,062 views
“Crazy Lens Flare Edition” — 269,461 views
“Backyard Trailer” — 33,756 views
“Space Balls: The Schwartz Awakens” — 135,483 views
Then, of course, there are these notable Instagrams:
• Post by star John Boyega, thanking fans for their support—and telling critics of the “black stormtrooper” to “get used to it”: 4,800+ likes.
• Post by fan Jordan Breckon revealing the first The Force Awakens tattoo: 1,700+ likes
Watch this space; we’ll be adding more as we think of them.