A standing ovation for “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom” trailer

December 21, 2020, 4:34 PM UTC

Chadwick Boseman’s final film, “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom”, took the top spot in YouGov’s weekly trailer survey. Unfolding across a sweltering Chicago afternoon, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” follows the legendary blues singer Ma Rainey and her band as they gather at a recording studio in 1927.

Each week YouGov Direct investigates how effective a collection of movie trailers is 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.

Learn more about YouGov Direct and find YouGov Direct on the App Store and on Google Play.

Adapted from the 1984 August Wilson play, “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom” had the most effective and most popular trailer of the week.

Before watching the trailer, just over one in five (23%) of YouGov Direct users said they were somewhat or very likely to watch this Netflix drama about the "Mother of the Blues". After users viewed the trailer, that number jumped to 47% percent. 

Fans of the blues were particularly excited about the film’s Friday release. After watching the trailer, over half said they were somewhat or very likely to see this movie (54%). The film’s powerful music was certainly a big pull for respondents. When we asked them what they liked best about the trailer, nearly half said it was the music or score’ (46%). The film’s prolific cast, including Viola Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman, also appears to have caught users' attention. Almost two in five (39%) said their favorite part of the trailer was ‘one or more of the actors depicted’.

YouGov Direct also asks respondents to tell us how good or bad they think a movie will be based on the trailer. Of all the trailers we tested this week, “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom” came out on top with a score of 3.8 out of a possible 5.0. This is compared to a median score of 3.5 for all trailers tested to date. Viewers awarded the lowest rating of the week to Alicia Silverstone led rom-com “Sister of the Bride” (3.2).

But “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom” wasn’t the only trailer turning heads this week. A family of fur hunters run into trouble in ‘Hunter Hunter’, IFC Midnight's new survivalist thriller.

The trailer for “Hunter Hunter” was the second most effective at persuading viewers to consider seeing a film this week, after “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom”. Prior to seeing the trailer, 16% of YouGov Direct respondents said they were likely to see this bleak hunting horror. But after viewing the trailer on the YouGov Direct app, 38% said they were now likely to see it.

Gore hounds were unsurprisingly enthusiastic about the film, which is available in a select number cinemas this weekend. Of those who identified as fans of the horror genre, 42% said they were somewhat or very likely to see the movie after watching the trailer. 

Not everyone, however, was gripped by this tense trailer. When we asked users what they liked best about it, more than a quarter said ‘I didn’t like anything’ (26%).

YouGov Direct also offers members the opportunity to look at viewing options in their area through Fandango. The trailer generating the highest click-through rate this week was “Monster Hunter”, with 2.6% percent. This is compared to a benchmark of 1.7% percent for all trailers tested on the platform to date. The click-through rate for “Hunter Hunter” was 2.0%.

Getting audiences into movie theaters continues to present a challenge. Despite having the highest click-through rate of the week, just 35% of respondents said they would prefer to watch “Monster Hunter” right away in cinemas. The other 65% would rather skip the trip and watch it via streaming or download services at a later date.

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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 December 10, 2020.