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Pikachu, Toy Story Make Big Splash With Social Video First

Mondays typically aren’t big days for news releases, but there were two big video announcements that dropped at the start of this week — and both used social to get the word out quickly, and widely.

Disney’s teaser trailer for the 2019 release of “Toy Story 4” was short and to-the-point (clocking in at just under 90 seconds), but garnered 18 million views since appearing on Monday. Rather than a post through Disney’s main channels, it went up on D23 — the official fan club account — on Twitter. While this is just a teaser, the full trailer will likely blitz TV next year.

But it’s still no shock that the teaser was an instant hit, showcasing Toy Story’s most popular characters, while also introducing a new one: Forky. “Toy Story 3” (released 2010) was once thought to be the end for the franchise, but the resurgent popularity that film gained from children and adults alike seemed like reason enough to continue with the adventures of Woody, Buzz, Jessie and the rest of the toys.

(Personal note: “Toy Story 3” was about as perfect an ending as any several-part film franchise could have, and I don’t endorse messing with that — but there’s reason to believe Disney/Pixar will find a winning formula with these characters once again anyway.)

Perhaps more surprisingly, though, that nostalgia play was not the most popular trailer to drop on Monday. That title would belong to “Detective Pikachu,” the Warner Bros. film that brings Japanese anime/video game franchise Pokemon into the real-world for the first time on screen.

There’s a nostalgia element here as well, of course, with Pokemon now over 21 years old, the immense initial (and continued) success of mobile app Pokemon Go and the upcoming release of its first Pokemon game (Let’s Go Pikachu/Let’s Go Eevee) for Nintendo Switch. But the greater draw potentially comes from the titular Pikachu’s voice actor here: Ryan Reynolds.

“Detective Pikachu’s” full trailer, released by Warner Bros. (though it also ran elsewhere) had over 20.6 million views on Monday for its 142-second video — a view count beyond that of “Toy Story 4.” According to social video intelligence company Tubular Labs, both videos were among the top 10 in views across all social video from Saturday, November 10-Monday, November 13. For U.S.-based videos, they were No. 1 and 2, respectively, for the timeframe. The spot has yet to air on television — though that should change soon with a May 2019 release date.

For Warner Bros., the “Detective Pikachu” trailer caused a surge in views accounting for the highest single-day count (cross-platform) in the last 90 days. For D23, this appeared to be the first use of the Twitter feed for a video release — resulting in its biggest spike in the past 365 days.

As of this writing, the “Detective Pikachu” trailer is already the ninth-most viewed video on Warner Bros.’ YouTube channel since this time last year. Looking at Tubular’s V7 metric (the total views in the first seven days from publishing) “Detective Pikachu” already ranks second in the last 365 days. It stands a good chance to overtake the top video, the official “Aquaman” trailer, as well. The video is also already up to 16th in views among all entertainment videos on YouTube from the last 90 days.

So what makes “Detective Pikachu” so popular? The international audience overlap? Pokemon super fandom? The memes? Whatever it ends up being, the trailer’s on track to make a big impact for Warner Bros. — and it could spell out the roadmap for how the studio handles similar releases in the future.