The Hidden Giant of the Entertainment Industry
Hollywood’s biggest block-busters usually star Hollywood’s biggest stars, you know them from the movies they star in, late-night talk show appearances, tabloids, advertisements and other fanfare. We all recognize the stars of the Avengers movies like Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and others and recognize names of famous directors like Joss Wheadon, Steven Spielberg or James Cameron. They’re the entertainment industry’s biggest names and the movies they create are the highest grossing products in the entertainment industry… or are they?
Video game developer Rockstar recently released their newest video game in five years, Red Dead Redemption 2, on October 26th. While the names behind the video game’s development aren’t household names like those in Hollywood, the game recorded $725 million in worldwide retail sales during its first three days of availability. These sales make Red Dead Redemption 2 the biggest opening weekend in the history of entertainment, out grossing Hollywood’s biggest blockbuster’s opening weekend numbers like Star Wars: The Force Awakes ($529 million) and Avengers: Infinity Wars ($641 million).
The gap in sales continued to grow in favor of Red Dead Redemption 2 in the weeks following the release for both the video game and the movies. Just two weeks after its release Rockstar announced it had sold 17 million copies of the game worldwide, with a $60 retail value, that’s well over a billion dollars in just two weeks.
Looking at the other top grossing video games of the year show that while Red Dead Redemption 2’s sales are unique, they’re advertising budget is in line with other popular video games, but far less than those of major movies. The year’s highest grossing movies all spent nearly double in advertising in comparison to Red Dead Redemption 2, yet none of these movies’ box office sales eclipsed the sales from the game’s opening weekend.
With Numerator’s omnichannel view of the market place we’re able to see that the marketing for video games extends to different paths then those of movies, such as retail promotions, where the video game started appearing in circulars up to two months before its release.
As an item available to be picked up in stores immediately upon its release, unlike movies, retail circulars provide a significant portion of the products marketing. Some, like GameStop and Best Buy begin their promotion of the product earliest trying to entice customers with special pre-sale bonuses.
With record sales already recorded, the continued performance of the game will be interesting to monitor as we approach the holiday season. Have sales peaked or are there more consumers out there waiting for Black Friday and holiday deals?