“Blithe Spirit” trailer has the last laugh

February 19, 2021, 9:15 PM UTC

Has streaming killed off the cinematic release? One movie this week refuses to give up the ghost.  

“Blithe Spirit”, which is due for a limited theatrical release by IFC Films, took home the mantle of most effective trailer of the week, fending off competition from Netflix, Hulu and Disney+ in the process. 

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.

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Based on Noel Coward's hit play of the same name, “Blithe Spirit” follows a married crime novelist who finds himself in a bit of a pickle when an eccentric mystic summons the spirit of his first wife. 

“Blithe Spirit” was the least well-known film going into this week's trailer competition despite its A list cast. Before viewing the trailer, 47% of respondents said they had not heard anything about the movie and just 10% said they were likely to see it. After tuning into the energetic trailer, that number jumped to two in five users (40%).

The trailer was a particular hit with female audiences: nearly half of all female YouGov Direct users who viewed the trailer said they were likely to see this drawing room farce (46%) -- compared with 33% of men. 

So what set this trailer apart from its streaming competition? When we asked respondents to tell us what they enjoyed most about it, nearly half picked the film’s high spirited story and themes (46%). A further 39% went for one or more of the actors featured.   

Despite its successful trailer, it doesn’t look like viewers will be queuing to see “Blithe Spirit” in cinemas this weekend. Of those who said they were likely to see the movie after watching the trailer, just over one-fifth said they would prefer to see it in movie theatres right away (23%). The other 77% would rather skip the cinematic experience and watch it via streaming or download services at a later date. 

The most effective streaming trailer this week belonged to the Netflix thriller “I Care A Lot”. The film stars Rosamund Pike as a sociopathic scam artist who preys on the elderly.

 

Of all the trailers tested this week “I Care A Lot” was the most popular with viewers. Prior to seeing the trailer, one in five YouGov Direct respondents said they were somewhat or very likely to see this pitch black comedy (20%). After viewing the clip on the YouGov Direct Platform, 49% said they were now likely to see it.  

The trailer was also the most effective at persuading people to consider subscribing to the streaming service that hosts it. There was an increase of three percentage points in intent to subscribe to Netflix after users watched the trailer, the highest increase this week.  

Similar to “Blithe Spirit”, the trailer for “I Care A Lot” performed better with female audiences. This time, more than half of female YouGov Direct users who viewed the trailer said they were somewhat or very likely to see it (54%), compared with 44% of men.  

So what made viewers care about this Netflix trailer? Around a third of respondents said it was the visual look of this icy thriller (35%). Another 49% named the film’s powerful story about a heartless court-appointed guardian as the biggest draw. 

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, both “Blithe Spirit” and “I Care A Lot” came out on top with a score of 3.7 out of a possible 5.0. This is compared to a median score of 3.5 for all trailers tested to date. The second highest rating of the week went to Disney+ family comedy “Flora & Ulysses” (3.6).

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Image: Getty