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Sunday, September 04, 2016

AUDIENCE ANALYSIS Star Trek fails to live long and prosper?

This post focuses on the LA Times' box office coverage, which provides very specific audience breakdown and analysis.

The headline above is from 
Gant's column on the UK box office, matching a more common downbeat view on the film's fortunes and prospects (its still on wide release), noting:
Star Trek Beyond may have suffered from director JJ Abrams’ exit into rival franchise Star Wars (he remains as producer). Or fans might have been more excited by Benedict Cumberbatch as the main villain last time around, with Beyond baddie Idris Elba less proven at the box office. And Paramount may have struggled to persuade broader audiences to see a third Star Trek film.
Critics and audiences have been highly positive, but the film has failed to crossover to a wide US or UK audience (RT)

BoxOfficeMojo provide a comparison of all 13 movies in the franchise; the current release needs a major boost from China and elsewhere to ensure the franchise will continue to ... live long and prosper


The various box office columns (global, US, UK) in the Guardian make for great reading and will teach you a lot about how the industry works, and provide very specific examples that might help you in exam and/or coursework efforts. Variety and many others also provide in-depth, highly informed analysis and commentary - you can keep an eye on these by adding RSS feeds to your own blogs.

This example is from the LA Times, which you'd expect to be highly versed in industry practice as Hollywood is in its turf. The fragment I picked out below comments on:


  • gender %
  • age category %
  • online critic aggregator (RT) and cinema viewer ratings
  • the hostile environment for franchise sequels in summer 2016
  • the marketing impact of director Lin (of Fast and Furious franchise) - women/youth boost
  • likewise the impact of Rihanna's lead track, and...
  • casting Idris Elba
  • the high take from IMAX 
  • (in 2nd excerpt below) the potential role of the Chinese market, and the tentpole budget partly covered by Chinese investment
...“Star Trek Beyond” had several factors working in its favor, including a loyal fan base and largely stellar early reviews. While audiences (57% male, 73% over 25 years old) gave the film an A-minus CinemaScore, 84% of critics on the review site Rotten Tomatoes rated the film favorably. The film appears to have beaten the unpredictable performance of sequels at the box office this year, with disappointments including “Alice Through the Looking Glass” and “Neighbors 2.” 
Colligan credited the film’s reception, including an audience increase in youth and women, to Lin’s pedigree, the lead track by and promotion help from pop star Rihanna, and the addition of Elba to the film.“Idris as a villain was great addition,” she said. “He’s super cool, and I hear that women really like him.” Of the film’s domestic total to date, $8.4 million came from IMAX screens. IMAX locations accounted for four of the film’s top five domestic engagements and 16 of the top 20.
This is also put in the context of Paramount coming bottom so far in the 2016 box office table for the big six, and in need of a big hit. Since the article was written coverage has tended to suggest the film has disappointed, failing to match the previous franchise takes (so far - its still on wide release). Competing studios do spend a lot of energy trying to define each other's releases as flops, though (calculating that a general audience will avoid a failure), so its worth being cautious over such reports.
Grunge.com's take is more typical than the LA Times' positive analysis

“Star Trek” has been one of Paramount’s most reliable franchises. The 2009 reboot posted $385 million globally, and the followup took in $467 million. With a production budget of $185 million, the “Beyond” team took advantage of rebates and tax benefits by producing the picture largely in Vancouver, Canada, and Dubai. That’s in contrast with the previous two installments, which Abrams wanted to shoot in Los Angeles.Abrams, who directed the previous two “Star Treks,” produced “Beyond” with Paramount and David Ellison’s Skydance Entertainment.The film is expected to do powerful business internationally, especially with Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba Group committing to invest in the picture.

Beyond the Star Trek case there are useful quotes on New Line's genre (horror) success, the primacy of the global audience for another franchise, Ice Age, and much more.

See http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-mn-box-office-20160722-snap-story.html.

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