Hunger Games: Catching Viewers   by

Katniss Everdeen continues her big screen adventure battling the State of Panem’s supremacy on November 22, 2013, when the second installment in the Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire, opens in theaters nationwide. The second trailer for the film, released on July 20th, already has over 1.9 million YouTube views: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keT5CRhhy84

But how will Lionsgate get the word out to the other 270.5 million U.S. residents over the age of twelve who have not viewed the trailer on the Internet?  Television still proves to be one of the most valuable assets a theatrical studio has at its disposal.  CatchingFire1In fact, this past summer has seen a precipitous increase in the aggregate number of national television spots for motion pictures.

According to boxofficemojo the first installment of The Hunger Games scored an opening weekend bounty of $152.5 million with a total domestic gross of $408 million on a production budget of $78 million (http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=hungergames.htm).  The Website mockingjay.net (your source for The Hunger Games) is reporting that the production budget for Catching Fire is double that for the original film, placing it in the $150 million range.  That’s a very healthy investment for a studio whose typical release schedule consists of horror films, the Twilight Saga and Tyler Perry comedies.

Based on that information, it is evident that Lionsgate will want to develop a successful, laser focused, national television campaign with the first order of business being the selection of the proper target.  Hmmm.  P18-34?  Not young enough.  P12-24?  Too young.  P12-49?  Too broad.  How about a target based on the people who saw The Hunger Games in the theater during the spring of 2012?  Wait, you can do that?  We can!

Enter the TiVo Research and Analytics Television Panel.  For the past two years, as part of our monthly survey, we have asked our panel members what movies they saw in the theaters during the previous month (as well as what movies they had heard of and what movies they intended to see).  Armed with their responses, we can anonymously match panelists’ movie attendance to their television viewing behaviors.  Hey Lionsgate! It might interest you to know that over on the broadcast side, during the fourth quarter of 2012, The Mindy Project and New Girl were the top-indexing primetime programs when comparing the rating for The Hunger Games theatergoers to overall household ratings.  We don’t want to disparage any specific programs, but you might want to avoid Law & Order SVU and CSI, both of which had minimal overlap with Hunger Games viewers.  On the cable side of the dial you might consider MTV’s The Inbetweeners, AMC’s Comic Book Men and (of course!) Firefly on the Science Channel.

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Half of the production costs for a film are typically invested in a promotional campaign (http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/movie-cost1.htm). That puts the Lionsgate marketing budget for Catching Fire at $75 million. Hot indeed! Here’s hoping Lionsgate spends it well and that Katniss can continue to outmaneuver the Capital.

One final clarification: The Hunger Games trilogy is being converted into a quadrology. Like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which was released as a two-part series finale, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay is already scheduled to be released as two separate films in November of 2014 and 2015.

This blog post was originally published at the TiVo Research & Analytics blog.

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