Trailer for “The Marksman” hits its target

January 15, 2021, 8:45 PM UTC

Liam Neeson's new drama “The Marksman” scored highly in YouGov’s weekly trailer survey, walking away with the title of most effective and most popular trailer. 

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.

“The Marksman” follows a lonely rancher (Neeson) who becomes the unlikely defender of a young Mexican boy desperately fleeing the cartel assassins who've pursued him into the US.

Prior to seeing the trailer, 21% of YouGov Direct respondents said they were somewhat or very likely to see this new action thriller. After viewing the clip on the YouGov Direct Platform, 53% said they were now likely to see it, the highest level of post-trailer interest this week. 

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, “The Marksman” came out on top with a score of 4.0 out of a possible 5.0. This is compared to a median score of 3.5 for all trailers tested to date. Film critics were less enthusiastic about “The Marksman”. Variety critic Owen Gliberman called it a “movie to forget the moment it’s over”.  

So what made “The Marksman” stand out from the rest of this week's trailers? Liam Neeson appears to have been a big draw for respondents. When we asked them what they liked best about the trailer, more than two in five said it was one or more of the actors depicted (43%). A further 39% said they enjoyed the trailer’s neo-western look.  This will be the second time within a year that a Liam Neeson trailer wowed YouGov Direct respondents, the first being October 2020’s “Honest Thief.” 

But neither the trailer nor Neeson was quite enough to persuade viewers to take the trip to cinemas this weekend. Nearly three-quarters of those who said they were likely to see the movie after watching the trailer said they would rather skip the cinematic experience and watch it via streaming or download services at a later date (73%). The other 27% said they would prefer to see “The Marksman” in movie theaters right away. That figure was even lower for this week’s other cinematic release, the Martin Luther King documentary “MLK/FBI” (16%). 

Over in the world of streaming, the most effective trailer belonged to “Outside the Wire”, Netflix’s new Sci-Fi action thriller. Set in the year 2036, “Outside the Wire” stars Avengers alum Anthony Mackie as a top-secret android officer on a mission to stop a nuclear attack. 

 

The film was the second most anticipated release of the week (behind Amazon’s new drama “One Night In Miami”). Of those who took the survey, 61% were already aware of the film and 23% of users said they were already likely to see the movie before watching the trailer. After watching the trailer that number rose to 50%. 

Fans of action films were particularly excited to see the possible next Captain America do battle against the bad guys. Of those who said they were fans of the action genre, 62% said they were likely to watch “Outside the Wire” after watching the trailer. 

YouGov Direct also offers members the opportunity to learn more about a film after watching the trailer. “Outside the Wire” had the joint highest click-through rate of any movie being released on streaming and video-on-demand services this week, alongside “One Night in Miami” (9.1%). This is compared to an average click-through rate of 6.8% for all trailers tested to 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 January 15, 2021.