Trailer for comedy “The War with Grandpa” ties with “The Lie” for the most effective trailer

October 09, 2020, 7:45 PM UTC

The kids are most definitely not alright in this week's two most effective trailers. From torturing grandparents (“The War with Grandpa”) to covering up crimes (“The Lie”), viewers are in for a lot of mischief and madness.  

Each week YouGov Direct surveys investigate how effective movie trailers are in persuading people to consider seeing 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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The most effective trailer of the week for a cinematic release belongs to the boisterous kid-friendly comedy “The War with Grandpa”. 

The film follows a furious sixth grader who will stop at nothing to get his room back from his grandfather (played by Robert De Niro). But grandpa doesn't give up easily, and it turns into an all-out war between the two.

“The War with Grandpa” was the most anticipated film this week amongst YouGov Direct users. Of those who took the survey 82% were already aware of the film, although just 15% said they were already likely to see the movie before watching the trailer. That number rose to 43% post-trailer. 

Despite featuring two male leads, the comedy held a particular appeal for female viewers. Half (53%) of female YouGov Direct members who watched the trailer said they were likely to see this movie -- compared with 32% of males.

“The War with Grandpa” marks De Niro’s first film role since the Oscar nominated hit “The Irishman.” His appearance appears to have had a big impact on viewers. When we asked them what they liked best about the trailer over half said it was ‘one or more of the actors depicted’. Other A-list stars including Uma Thurman, Jane Seymour and Christopher Walken can also be glimpsed in the trailer. 

YouGov Direct asks respondents to tell us how good or bad they think a movie will be, based on the trailer. Members awarded “The War with Grandpa” the highest score of the week, 3.8 out of a possible 5.0. The median score for all trailers tested to date is 3.5. 

Film critics were less enthused about the film. “Somebody wave a white flag already,” wrote Hollywood Reporter critic Frank Schek. Owen Glieberman, writing for Variety magazine described the film as “too benign to be funny.”

While “The War with Grandpa” may have had one of the most effective trailers of the week, it was not enough to convince viewers to see the comedy in cinemas. Of those who indicated that they were likely to see this family film after watching the trailer, 82% said they would rather skip the movie theater and watch it via streaming or download services at a later date.

In the world of streaming, the most effective trailer of the week went to Amazon’s psychological thriller “The Lie.” This grim drama follows two devoted parents as they try to cover up their daughter's heinous crime. 

The film is part of “Welcome To The Blumhouse,” a new Amazon anthology series from the producers of “Get Out” and “Happy Death Day,” and will be released alongside the sci-fi thriller “Black Box. ”

Prior to seeing the trailer, 12% of respondents said they were likely to watch “The Lie”. After viewing it, 40% said they were now likely to watch this dark tale of parental devotion. 

So what made it such a successful trailer? Nearly a third of viewers liked that the trailer  played its cards close to its chest, saying “the trailer communicated the story line without giving away too much of the movie” (30%). A further 43% said they enjoyed the film's twisted ‘story or theme’.

“The Lie” was less successful at persuading viewers to consider subscribing to the streaming service that hosts it. That top performing trailer in that arena was “Black Box.” After watching the trailer for “Black Box” there was an increase of four percentage points in intent to subscribe to Amazon Prime Video, the highest lift this week. 

YouGov Direct also offers members the opportunity to learn more about a film after watching the trailer. “The Lie” had the highest click through rate for all streaming and V.O.D releases this week (9.9%). This is compared to an average click through rate of 5.9% for all trailers tested to date. “Black Box” scored the second highest click through rate  for a streaming film with 7.1%. 

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Image: Getty

Methodology: Data is based on 4,000 interviews, including a minimum of 400 responses for each movie trailer tested. Surveys were conducted online on October 8, 2020.