“The Martian” has seen a pronounced spike in Twitter mentions since Monday, when media reports on the discovery of water on the Red Planet first surfaced.
That suggests that awareness of the Ridley Scott-directed sci-fi film starring Matt Damon, which opens via 20th Century Fox on Friday, has received a boost from the Mars reports that dominated news coverage on Monday and have continued to bubble since.
Whether that translates into box office remains to be seen, but it can’t hurt; “The Martian” is already headed for the box office stratosphere, with projections forecasting a debut at No. 1 with around $45 million, according to most industry analysts. But those estimates were calculated on Tuesday, before the impact of the news reports could be assessed.
On Sunday, prior to the news, the space saga was mentioned in 10,733 tweets. On Monday, after the reports broke, the number of mentions skyrocketed to 29,894, according to BoxOffice.com’s Pro Daily Report. That number peaked at 38,979 on Tuesday, then dropped back to a still-high 29,689. By comparison, another sci-fi space saga from a prominent director, Christopher Nolan‘s “Interstellar,” was mentioned in 5,990 tweets two days before its release.
On Thursday, online ticket broker Fandango reported that sales for “The Martian” were running ahead of those for “Gravity” at a similar point in the run-up to their respective releases. The Sandra Bullock-George Clooney sci-fi tale debuted to an October record $55.7 million on this weekend two years ago.