This week, “Trolls World Tour” will become the first movie that was intended for a wide cinematic release to go straight to a streaming service. That marks a big change for Hollywood.
But people at home are still watching movies, and movie trailers still help viewers decide what to watch. Trailers often can help a movie get more interest, and “Trolls” appears to be among the films with an effective trailer.
Each week, YouGov Direct asks a group of its members to watch movie trailers. We then report on what they say. YouGov Direct’s surveys investigate how effective movie trailers are in persuading people to consider going to see a film, what they think about the content of the trailer, and how good or bad they expect the movie to be. Thousands of people provide immediate feedback on movie trailers using the YouGov Direct platform.
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Initially users did not seem keen to see the “Trolls World Tour,” an upbeat animated comedy that follows Poppy and Branch on another musical adventure through Troll World. Not for lack of awareness, however: 94 percent had heard of the film already.
But the trailer for the family-friendly animated film led to a lift of 15 percentage points in intent. Pre-trailer, 6 percent said they were likely to see this movie. Post-trailer, that number rose to 21 percent.
The film is a sequel to “Trolls” (2016) and the trailer features the original film’s Oscar-nominated song “Can’t Stop this Feeling.” Viewers definitely responded well to the song. When asked what they liked best about the trailer, 40 percent said the music or score. A further 30 percent said they liked the look of the confetti colored trailer.
YouGov Direct also asks respondents to tell us how good or bad they think a movie will be, based on the trailer. “Trolls World Tour” outperformed the rest of this week’s films, scoring 3.5. This is out of a possible 5.0 and compared to a median score of 3.5 for all trailers tested to date.
The trailer for the limited release film “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” by comparison, scored lower with 3.3.
“Never Rarely Sometimes Always” is a hard-hitting drama that follows a pair of teenage girls from rural Pennsylvania as they travel to New York City to seek out medical help after an unintended pregnancy, and has garnered a lot of attention. It was a prizewinner at this year’s Sundance and Berlin film festivals.
Prior to seeing the trailer, 16 percent of YouGov Direct users said they were likely to see this film. But after viewing the trailer 25 percent said they wanted to see it. What did respondents like about the trailer? Over a third of respondents said they enjoyed the story or theme (36%). Another 30 percent said they liked that the trailer communicated the storyline without giving too much away.
A lot of movie watchers have been warming to the idea of viewing new releases at home rather than in cinemas. This was certainly the case for “Never Rarely Sometimes Always.” Of those who said they were likely to see the film, only 34 percent said they would rather wait a few months to see it in theaters. Meanwhile two thirds (66%) said they would rather watch the film via streaming or download services.
The other limited release turning heads this week was “Sea Fever.” The film, which stars Connie Nielson (“Wonder Woman”), tells the story of a crew on a Irish trawler, marooned at sea, struggling for their lives against a growing parasite in their water supply.
Nearly one in five (17%) users said they were somewhat or very likely to see this tale of grim marine survival before watching the trailer. This number increased to 25 percent after viewing. That's an 8 percentage point increase, 1 percentage point less that “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”.
The film's timely subject matter may have appealed to potential viewers: 37 percent said the story or theme was the best part of the trailer. Perhaps not surprising given the similarities between “Sea Fever’s” antagonistic creature and today’s worldwide health crisis.
One other limited release film, “The Other Lamb,” a psychological thriller about a girl born into an all-female cult led by a Manson-esque man, captured YouGov Direct user’s attention. As the girl comes of age in this close-knit community she begins to question the cult leader’s teachings as well as her own reality.
Before watching the trailer 13 percent of respondents said they would watch the film. After viewing, 23 percent said they were likely to. Of those who said they were likely to watch the film, 45 percent said they would rather wait a few months to see this striking film on the big screen. 55 percent said they would rather watch via download services.
However, not everyone enjoyed the trailer for this feminist fable: 26 percent of YouGov Direct users said they didn't like anything about the trailer. The film, which stars Michiel Huisman (“Game of Thrones”) is now available to watch on the niche streaming service IFC Midnight.
Methodology: Data is based on 4,000 interviews, including a minimum of 400 responses for each movie trailer tested.