What 2016’s Blockbuster Movies Can Teach Us About Content

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DECEMBER 2016

The year 2016’s worldwide box-office movie success will probably pale in comparison to 2015’s but nevertheless, it still produced some of the most adorable and memorable movies. But what made these movies rake in billions for studios this year? Was it the marketing strategies that improved but weren’t as effective as last year? Was it the ensemble of actors that weren’t as enticing enough to capture more moviegoers? Or the written content in the movies that while some were entertaining, wasn’t compelling enough to keep the viewers glued and dragging the whole family to the theaters? Whatever the reasons behind this year’s sub-par performance, there are some content writing lessons that can be learned from 2016’s blockbuster hits. Content marketing experts scrutinize this year’s top 3 movies.

Captain America: Civil War

Release Date: May 6, 2016

Domestic Gross: $408.1M

Worldwide Gross: $1.153B

 

When you want to brainstorm on a good content strategy, you might think of topics on whiteboards or you could do a movie marathon of The Avengers starting with Iron Man and ending with Captain America: Civil War. This Marvel franchise has come up with great content writing in keeping audiences wanting more and waiting on the next movie. Of course, we cannot neglect the fast-paced high-level intensity of action. First it was Iron Man (2008) and at the end of the movie, talked about a certain Avenger Initiative. Then there was Thor (2011) introducing “a bad guy” that would star in The Avengers (2012). And last year’s Ant Man showed an actual scene from CA: Civil War. This chain-smoking style of writing kept audiences glued to their seats while the end credits rolled out. Not a single moviegoer left the cinema.

If you’re writing an eBook, make it in parts wherein each of the parts connects to the next without giving away all the details. You just have to keep your audience guessing and anticipating – and in the end, wanting for more.

 

Finding Dory

Release Date: June 17, 2016

Domestic Gross: $486.3M

Worldwide Gross: $1.026B

 

This adorable sequel to Finding Nemo (2003) has one great content writing lesson for all content strategies: Entertainment really does sell.

Say the word Disney and you automatically know you will be entertained with what you are about to watch because of a great story. Take heed – make your story entertaining! Everyone loves to listen to stories, heroes, drama, etc., especially the good ones we can relate to. A young Dory was taught by her parents how to remember things. Didn’t we all, as youngsters listen to mommy reminding us to close the toothpaste cap or tying a bow on a finger to help us remember? It’s so relatable, it makes us leave the movie houses with the characters neatly tucked in our hearts and memories.

Disney seems to have mastered this art of telling a story and marketing it. Even their ads make customers respond positively. That’s because they know how to use their imagination. Content writers should be imaginative and speak out their minds with added humor to show. The only hindrance to a great story (and box-office success) is a sheer lack of imagination. In other words, the word “boring” doesn’t seem to be in Disney’s vocabulary!

 

Zootopia

Release Date: March 4, 2016

Domestic Gross: $341.3M

Worldwide Gross: $1.023B

 

There are different animal species in this movie and the main characters are either the dominant (predators) or subordinate (prey) species co-existing with each other until prejudice comes in. The main conflict is discrimination in a fear-based society.

This conflict may seem to be a writing taboo but Disney made it into witty metaphors and parodies for audiences especially young ones to easily digest and make them learn that discrimination is not good. Content providers should take note that it’s not forbidden to tackle a touchy subject if you know how to play with words with a plethora of writing styles.

The movie has one great content writing goal that was clearly able to achieve. One of its target markets – the millennials – were part of the movie’s dialogue and marketing campaign. It used social media to release anticipative posters parodying films like The Bridge of Sloths and The Hibernant (just in time for the Oscars) that were so relatable to this demographic.

We’re still calling it a good year for movies in 2016. But content marketing experts would probably wish it were better. Well, as long as these movies taught us to improve at getting our content heard and reach out to more readers, we can safely say ‘twas a very good year indeed.

Annie Ianko

Content Happiness Advisor

Annie has 18 years’ experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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