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the anticipation index

Real Steel Takes a Beating Against the Heavy Hitters on Vulture’s Anticipation Index

Real Steel

Usually, the top of the Anticipation Index — Vulture's scientific guide to what upcoming entertainment events are getting the most anticipation on Twitter and blogs — is stocked with that weekend's big opening movies. (Even Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star hit the top of the charts, with so many people chatting about how fascinatingly awful it looked.) Only Real Steel has cracked the top ten, and today, as it opens (a time that a new film is usually in the No. 1 or No. 2 spot), it's at No. 11, while The Ides of March is down at 24. (The indie Dirty Girl, also in theaters today, is on its tail at 27.) So why the dampened chatter? Because these films' opening has been overshadowed by tantalizing promos for movies even further in the future.

The buzz machine appears to have turned on itself: Just when this week’s releases should have been making their final assault on the top of the list, Hollywood released a string of high-profile trailers and on-set photos, monopolizing the conversation and keeping movies like Real Steel in terminal second gear. Wednesday, for instance, saw Man of Steel, War Horse, and The Adventures of Tintin on meteoric rises after Man of Steel released photos of Russell Crowe in costume as Superman’s father, and the other two debuted new trailers (Tintin's was international). Yesterday, the Index was abuzz over Michelle Williams and the My Week With Marilyn trailer, and today features big gains from Young Adult (new trailer) and The Avengers, which only had to announce that it was going to be releasing a new trailer to whip the tweeps into a frenzy. Newcomers to the Index Justin Bieber and Rihanna also earned positions in the top ten for releasing the track list of a Christmas album (Biebs) and titling a much-anticipated upcoming project (RiRi).

Of course, trailers and on-set photos get released all the time, and this is a particularly weak week for movie releases. Much as we love talking about Real Steel, Hugh Jackman, though well liked, is still mostly known as Wolverine (@JaleelBoykins: "Real Steel was such a disappointment. Hugh Jackman didn't even show his adamantium claws"), and the action-robot-family-inspiration genre is a little confusing. Who'd have thought they’d ever see something called Real Steel described as a “sweet movie?” The duo of Clooney and Gosling should have been a knockout for Ides of March, but at least on Twitter, their names haven’t really registered. Plus, @marincordova complains, “Just watched the ides of march trailer. It actually made no sense. I have no idea what the movie is about except for presidents&bad lighting.”

Photo: Dreamworks