Why Idris Elba is so good for Fast and Furious

Ted MarzilliCEO YouGov Direct
July 19, 2019, 12:21 PM GMT+0

The Fast and Furious franchise lives on this August as something of a spin off.

Its latest installment is called Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw, and stars Dwayne Johnson (Luke Hobbs) and Jason Statham (Deckard Shaw) reprising their previous roles from the 8-film franchise.

It’s good business to continue the run of films, which have taken in an estimated worldwide gross total of more than $5 billion, according to Box Office Mojo.

What makes this film interesting from a marketing standpoint is the addition of Idris Elba, who plays a cybernetically enhanced villain that draws Hobbs, a lawman, together with Shaw, a criminal into what appears to be a buddy cop situation.

Overall, Elba is viewed positively by fans of the Fast and Furious films -- that is anyone who have said they really like the previous 7 films, a sample of more than 2,500 people in YouGov’s Plan and Track tool. More than half, 61 percent said they had a positive view of the actor. That’s more than the national average: about 48 percent of America has a positive view of Elba.

That’s good news for the film’s producers, because Elba could get fans of the franchise excited for another trip to the box office.

But it may be even better news for the marketers who decide which movies to show on the preview reel.

That’s because fans of Elba alone might be a more valuable audience in this regard. When we take a look at fans of Idris Elba, compared with fans of the Fast and Furious franchise, against the national average, we can see a clear boost from Elba fans in terms of marketing potential.

Fans of the actor are more likely than both Fast and Furious fans and the average American to watch previews and to make recommendations to their friends.

So the Fast and Furious producers made a good decision on casting Elba because he’s a good fit for the audience. And they did a favor to the box office itself by attracting fans that are more likely to watch the previews and who are more likely to get asked for a recommendation.