Are we living in a simulation? Two of this week's films - “Bliss” and “A Glitch in the Matrix” - pose that very question.
But which one should you watch this weekend? You might want to check out a trailer to help you make up your mind.
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 most effective trailer of the week belonged to sci-fi drama “Bliss”. This mind-bending love story follows an unfulfilled man who, after meeting a mysterious woman living on the streets, becomes convinced that the polluted, broken world around him is actually a computer simulation.
Before viewing the trailer for this sci-fi fantasy, 15% of respondents said they were likely to see it. After viewing the clip on the YouGov Direct Platform, that number rose to 49%. Fans of the science fiction genre were especially excited for “Bliss”. Of those who watched the trailer, more than half said they were somewhat or very likely to see it (51%).
Film critics, however, were less enthusiastic. In her review of the film for IndieWire, Kate Erbland writes that “life might be messy and weird and scary, but it possesses more honesty than this cinematic misery.”
So what made the trailer for “Bliss” stand out? The film’s all-star cast appeared to be a big draw for viewers, with 41% of all respondents saying their favorite part of the trailer was one more of the actors. A further 48% said they liked the film’s high concept story and themes.
The other sci-fi movie being released this week fared far worse with viewers. “A Glitch in the Matrix” follows filmmaker Rodney Ascher as he tackles the question "are we living in a simulation?"
Prior to seeing the trailer for this documentary, 26% of YouGov Direct respondents said they were somewhat or very likely to see it - the highest level of pre-trailer interest this week. Post trailer, 40% said they were now likely to see it, making it the second least effective trailer of the week after Netflix’s “Malcom & Marie”. A third of users also said they didn’t like anything about the trailer for “A Glitch in the Matrix” (33%).
The second most effective trailer of the week belonged to the biographical film “Son of the South”. Based on Bob Zellner's autobiography "The Wrong Side of Murder Creek”, this 1960s set drama follows the grandson of a Klansman who joins the Civil Rights Movement.
“Son of the South” had the second lowest level of pre trailer interest going into this week’s survey (after the COVID-19 inspired drama “Little Fish”). Pre trailer just 14% of viewers said they were interested in watching this movie. Post-trailer, that number jumped up to 45%.
We asked users to tell us what they liked best of the “Son of the South” trailer and more than half said it was the film's powerful true story (52%). Another two in five said they liked that the trailer communicated the story line without giving away too much of the plot (40%).
The film's powerful true story was not enough, however, to get viewers into cinemas. Less than a quarter of respondents who said they were likely to see the film after watching the trailer said they would prefer to see “Son of the South” in movie theaters right away. The other 77% would rather skip the trip and watch it via streaming or download services at a later date. Fortunately for those viewers they won’t have to wait at all. Vertical Entertainment, the film’s US distributor, is releasing the film in cinemas and on VOD services on the very same day.
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, “Son of the South” 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. Audiences awarded the lowest score of the week to both “Malcolm & Marie” and “A Glitch in the Matrix” (3.3)
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Methodology: Data is based on 4,000 interviews, including a minimum of 400 responses for each movie trailer tested. Surveys were conducted online on February 4, 2021.