Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, October 23, 2021

While movie sequels, with their built-in returning audiences, remain sure-fire moneymakers — regardless of how good or bad they turn out — a new, targeted survey indicates it’s better to stay away from the traditional numbering system in those follow-up films:

Movie audiences prefer sequels with names to those with numbered titles, according to a paper in the October Journal of Consumer Research. In one study, subjects were shown a made-up movie title —“Daredevil 2” or “Daredevil: Taking It to the Streets” — and asked to read a plot summary. Those who saw the second title spent more time reading the summary, remembered more, and rated the hypothetical movie more highly.

That proposed Daredevil sequel was previously used in a wider study of more effective movie marketing. It seems this research is ongoing. It’s already bearing results, in the form of the ever-longer movie titles that were so preponderant this past summer.

My own theory for why this is so effective:

Still, I can see logic: Not using the numeral assuages that audience segment that suspects a milking of an already-done concept, while still delivering valuable familiarity to fans of the original. It’s win-win.

I don’t know if the stats reveal this, but I have a feeling that numbers in a movie title are more a turn-off for older viewers. They’ve seen that device for too many years, and have been burned too many times by crappy movies, that they’re now jaded to it. Younger moviegoers, on the other hand, haven’t experienced as many letdowns, and so are likely more charitable toward the numbered titles.

- Costa Tsiokos, Mon 10/23/2006 10:28:54 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Movies | Permalink |

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  1. The importers and translators of anime discovered this some time back, much to my irritation.

    When selling an anime series, instead of helpfully letting you know it’s tape 6 of 8 (8 being a standard number for a 26-episode season) they will give it some name. It made tracking down all of the names somewhat difficult because it could be difficult to find the tape that came before and the tape that came after.

    But I suspect in the rental stores it helps sales at least moderately, because you can get tape 3 without realizing it, requiring you then to go back and find 1 and 2.

    It’s much less irritating as far as movies go, though if you collect them in digital format you have to take extra steps to keep them in order.

    Comment by trumwill — 10/24/2006 @ 09:28:29 AM

  2. This discussion reminds me of my favorite trilogy of all time: Star Wars I, Star Wars II, and Star Wars III. That George Lucas was a genius with foresight.

    Comment by Hunk Oman — 10/24/2006 @ 09:51:37 AM

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