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The Conjuring 2 Predicts Brexit Mood Before Leave Vote - Box Office Can Measure Our Hopes and Fears

Updated on June 27, 2016

The Conjuring 2 was the #1 Movie in the UK the Weekend before the Brexit Vote

According to boxofficemojo, The Conjuring 2 topped the UK movie box office for the weekend of June 17-19, just before the Brexit vote on June 23rd. The "surprise" referendum result to leave the European Union was not predicted by the latest polls or bookies laying bets up to the final hours of voting. In the end, the Leave side won by a margin of 52% to 48% for the Remain camp.

We all choose a movie based on our current emotions; seeking a laugh or a cry or a thrill ride. Basically, the movie mood is a scale of hope and fear for the future based on the type of movie the national audience selects as the weekend box office champ. From my years of research through MarketBOB (the Market Box Office Barometer), I have linked the top movies with significant market and world events in order to measure the collective mood of a nation. In this case, the mood of the British voter in advance of the Brexit vote.

We all know now that the vote reflected the collective fear of remaining in the EU and the threat this union has become to the lifestyle and prosperity of the majority of citizens in the UK. The Conjuring 2 reflects this fear of a home invaded by external forces out of the family's control and the fact that is was both set in North London in 1977 (shortly after the entry of Britain into the EU) and based on a true story makes it all the more real and scary for audiences.

The Conjuring 2 Movie Trailer

Will the waters remain calm around the UK after the Brexit Leave vote?

St. Ives on a calm day years ago. What will the waters be like in a few years from now?
St. Ives on a calm day years ago. What will the waters be like in a few years from now? | Source

Why Choose a Scary Movie Just Before the Brexit Vote

There isn't a predictable formula for which specific movie becomes a box office hit. Hollywood knows this and their love of sequels and support for star actors are ways they try to improve the odds that audiences will choose their movie when they line up for tickets at their local cinema.

So, imagine you are already nervous about the upcoming Brexit vote and you decide to escape to the movies for some emotional relief. Why choose a scary movie about poltergeists invading a London home? Is it a pressure valve for your own fears about the future - in other words, no matter what happens in the Brexit vote, it won't be as bad a situation as the poor family in the movie! A scary movie helps you to put your own fears in perspective. You choose to be scared silly because you need an outlet.

Now, imagine if you then see The Conjuring 2 and realize how relevant the story is to your own Brexit fears? The setting is in your own country, the time is the 1970's when things were much better for the average Briton, having just voted to enter the EU in 1975. Then you sit through a scary movie about a family much like your own, threatened by ghostly invaders that demand you leave your house. You are powerless, threatened and beyond the help of the local authorities. But help is on the way from the United States and the fearless couple who resolved the Amityville house haunting.

On it goes until the final demon battle and heroic attempts at purging of the home of evil - no vote but a lot of scary events that make for a thrilling ride. Audiences applaud and go home where the fear remains and manifests itself in a Leave vote a few days later. This is how to get rid of that scary demon threatening homes across Britain - except in London where the EU demon pays them very well and in Scotland where the North Sea oil needs export markets to keep the money flowing.

Does the Movie Box Office Reflects our Collective Mood?

Do you choose a movie based on how you feel?

See results

Do you believe that the box office choices you make combine to reflect a national mood?

Take the quiz to see if you agree with the basic premise of MarketBOB, that our collective box office choices reflect our current national mood. Do we spend our hard-earned money on the weekend to feel something together, something that resonates with the mass crowds in their infinite wisdom?

Do movie heroes make you feel more hope for your own future? Do scary movies support your own fears? Do you need to laugh sometimes as a release from your own troubles? What emotions are at play when you choose to buy a ticket and see a movie?

What are the odds that this specific movie opened the weekend before the Brexit vote?

Movie executives green-light movies years in advance of their release. They guess what people might want to see but they really have no way of knowing the tastes of audiences so far in the future. However, once they have a movie ready for release, the marketing experts jockey for weekends to provide their movie with the best possible chance to break out of the pack and snag that coveted #1 ranking.

In the U.S., The Conjuring 2 opened the week before at #1 and since then, Finding Dory has been #1. In the UK, they delayed the release for a week perhaps knowing the impact it might have on audiences already fretting over Brexit or just to build on the North American box office results. For whatever reason, the synchronicity of the universe provided UK audiences with the scarily appropriate choice - the right movie at the right time.

British History Perspective for Brexit impact - Not the first crisis for this island empire...

More on the Movie Box Office and how it measures the collective mood

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