Marketing secrets of movie blockbuster sequels
Most big budget blockbuster movie sequels cost more than their predecessors, and from a marketing standpoint, they often do better too. For example, production costs were $110 million for the blockbuster Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, the fourth in the sequel, compared to $37 for Twilight, its predecessor. Though it is too soon to estimate total annual movie grosses, the opening weekend shows Breaking Dawn Part 1 generating $138,122,261, compared to Twilight at $69,637,740.
In a detailed study titled, “Conceptualizing and Measuring the Monetary Value of Brand Extensions: The Case of Motion Pictures,” four quantifying factors were identified that predict the success of movie sequels based on brand extension strategies. In the marketing world, brand extensions are defined as new products connected to well-known original or what are called “parent” brands.
The study found that movie sequels have two advantages over original movies. First, they have higher average box office returns, and second, are less financially risky. However, whether the movie is a success or failure depends on variables including parent brand awareness (whether the public is aware of the original movie), distribution intensity (the number of theater screens expected for opening weekend), parent brand image (if the first movie was widely considered good or not), and star continuity (whether the movie sequel has the same star as the first film). The study found that parent brand awareness was the strongest factor; yet, star continuity is still essential.
Another study titled, “Dynamic Effects Among Movie Ratings, Movie Revenues, and Viewer Satisfaction” demonstrated that high early movie revenues enhance subsequent movie ratings. The study also found that high advertising spending on movies supported by high ratings maximizes the movie’s revenues. Furthermore, the study showed that sequel movies tend to reap more revenues but receive lower ratings than originals.
Even if movie sequels do not turn out winners, there is still money to be made on home video – the DVD and Blu, on line or on demand when viewed on computers, TV, mobile, or any other device. In the case of the hugely successful franchise Star Wars and Harry Potter, where each movie became a mega hit, the huge opportunity for merchandising and theme park rides was beyond imagination.
Perhaps for Christmas 2012 with the premier of Breaking Dawn Part 2 on November 16, 2012, we can expect to see red eyed Bella dolls at Toys “R” Us.Tags: blockbuster, Breaking Dawn, Harry Potter, Movies, sequel, Star Wars, Twilight