EXCLUSIVE: In the week since Universal and Focus Features premiered the trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey, the 2 1/2-minute promo has become the biggest online trailer launch in history, the studio said.
The steamy adaptation of E L James‘ 2011 erotic bestseller tracks the love affair between a naive young woman and a dashing entrepreneur who was damaged as a youth and rejects intimacy. Sam Taylor-Johnson directs and Dakota Johnson stars as Anastasia Steele and Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey. After strategically building up the July 24 trailer debut with teases on NBC’s Today and in Beyonce’s Instagram feed, Universal scored more than 100 million views across all platforms in a week. That is about the number of books sold globally.
Some of that staggering online success is more easily quantifiable than others, given the nearly 33 million YouTube views logged in a week from Universal’s two official uploads alone. “Fifty Shades Of Grey trailers are pulling monumental views” from two separate uploads this week, said RelishMix CEO Marc Karzen. The trailer on Universal’s YouTube channel attracted more than 13 million views, and its UK sibling did even better, with 19.3 million. “Add to that ripped and reposted versions on movie fan channels. It’s unprecedented for a film that’s six months out.”
Here’s a sampling of Fifty Shades‘ tear across social media in its first week: The 15-second teaser premiered unannounced to Beyonce’s 14 million Instagram fans on Saturday, July 19, notching 443,000 likes and over 85,000 comments in an unusual stroke of pop marketing synergy. The tease of a teaser featuring a breathy snippet of Beyonce’s Crazy In Love also aired in TV and digital spots for the next three days, and ran in a 30-second radio spot in 16 markets.
All that marketing foreplay led to the morning of July 24, when the full trailer dropped at 8:15 AM ET and became the most-watched trailer on YouTube that day in a surge of buzz that Ben Carlson of social network tracker Fizziology calls “simply unprecedented.” The trailer garnered 98,000 mentions per hour on Twitter and was the No. 1 Google-trending topic in the U.S., Canada, the UK, France, and Germany.
An additional 13 million uploads were viewed on additional platforms including Yahoo, IMDb, and Apple in addition to over 900,000 trailer views via unofficial YouTube uploads, according to Universal. It had over 40 million additional views on Facebook across the studio’s domestic and international channels as well as Beyonce’s Facebook page, where the trailer alone racked up 446,000 likes and 222,000 shares. Fifty Shades hit theaters February 13.